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Angola’s thief gets a new job

D 10 août 2016     H 05:28     A     C 0 messages

In Angola, controlling the oil fields is indelibly linked to controlling the country.

Angola’s president is keeping control of state resources in the family. Faced with a struggling economy as global oil prices slump, president Jose Eduardo dos Santos appointed his daughter Isabel as head of the state-owned oil company Sonangol which manages Angola’s lucrative oil and gas reserves and contributes to about half of the country’s annual GDP while fueling a precarious and lop-sided post-war boom. The drop in global oil prices have hit Angola hard, forcing the country to cut public investment by 53%. Sonangol reported a net profit $710 million last year, down from more than $3 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Isabel dos Santos, 43, is said to be worth some $3.3 billion, much of which is linked to the country’s fortunes. Her assets include 25% of Angola’s largest mobile telecommunications company, Unitel, a 7% stake in the Portuguese oil and gas firm Galp Energia, a controlling share of a Portuguese cable television company, a lucrative stake in one of Angola’s largest banks Banco BIC and still more. Her 18.6% stake in Portugal’s second largest largest bank BPI is up for sale. Isabel dos Santos also dabbles in retail and owns a Luanda nightclub. Her vast wealth has attracted scrutiny and European officials have called for an investigation into her European Union investments. Lauded investigative journalist and activist Rafael Marques de Morais has accused Isabel dos Santos of directly using state funds as seed capital for her investments.

Her brothers Welwitchea José dos Santos and José Paulino dos Santos own Semba, a thriving communications company that is contracted by the state to run various publicity and marketing projects, according to Marques and the company’s own portfolio. It also doubles as a modelling agency. Semba has been accused of receiving funds directly from Angola’s national budget.