Angolan court sentences ex-president’s son to 5 years for embezzling $ 1.5 billion

On August 14, the Supreme Court of Angola sentenced Jose Filomeno dos Santos, son of Jose Eduardo dos Santos (former President of Angola from 1979 to 2017), to five years in prison for embezzling $ 1.5 billion from the national sovereign wealth fund, which he led for five years.

Jose Filomeno dos Santos was summoned before the court in December over allegations he tried to embezzle up to $1.5 billion from the sovereign wealth fund, which he oversaw from 2013 to 2018, according to international broadcaster Al Jazeer.

Moreover, Jose Filomeno dos Santos, known by the nickname «Zenu», was accused of stealing $ 500 million from the sovereign wealth fund and transferring it to a Swiss bank account.

Three co-defendants were also sentenced to four to six years in prison for fraud, embezzlement and influence peddling. Among them is the former Governor of the National Bank of Angola Valter Filipe da Silva.

Jose Filomeno dos Santos is the first member of the former presidential family to be prosecuted as part of an anti-corruption campaign led by President Joao Lourenco, who came to power in 2017.

Lourenco’s campaign mainly targets the family members of his predecessor, who appointed their relatives and friends to key positions during his 38-year reign.

In February, Angolan law enforcement froze the assets of Isabel dos Santos, who is the half-sister of billionaire Jose Filomeno dos Santos and is considered the richest woman in Africa.

Criminal cases against her are also investigated for a long list of crimes in Angola, including mismanagement, embezzlement and money laundering during her leadership of the state-run oil giant Sonangol.

In turn, Isabel completely denied the charges against her and criticized President Lawrence’s actions as a politically motivated «witch hunt».