Angola asks Dutch court to seize Isabel dos Santos-linked stake in energy firm

The acquisition was bankrolled by state oil company Sonangol, whose lawyers now allege that the deal enriched Angola’s former ruling family at the expense of the country.


2/11/2021 1 min read

Angola has asked a Dutch court to seize on its behalf a stake in an energy company linked to billionaire businesswoman Isabel dos Santos, according to a legal action first reported by Reuters.

In 2006, Exem Energy BV, a company controlled by dos Santos’s late husband, Sindika Dokolo, obtained a 6% indirect stake in Portuguese energy firm Galp thanks to a deal with Sonangol, Angola’s state oil company.

As a result of the deal, dos Santos had “significant influence” in Galp, according to a confidential report included in leaked documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The finding was part of Luanda Leaks, a 2020 investigation by ICIJ into the fortunes of the eldest daughter of Angola’s former president José Eduardo dos Santos and how decades of insider deals made her one of the world’s richest women.

Now, Sonangol lawyers allege that the acquisition of the Galp stake ー currently valued at about $500 million ー made no business sense for Angola and led to the ruling family’s personal enrichment at the expense of the country, one of the world’s poorest, Reuters reported.

“It’s all corruption,” Sonangol’s legal counsel Emmanuel Gaillard told Reuters. “You (Exem) owe us the shares, the indirect participation in Galp, because it’s theft. It’s illegal, therefore you have to pay it back,” Gaillard said.