Isabel dos Santos is not royalty or an actress but she has been the talk of the town these days – and it’s certainly not for a good reason.
She is at the center of a massive money laundering and embezzlement case after the so-called Luanda Leaks, which she said was a political attack on her, revealed over 700,000 pieces of evidence that point to her illegally amassing fortune from public funds.
She is the daughter of former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who reigned over Angola from 1979 to 2017, and is touted as the richest woman in Africa with a net worth of $2 billion. Isabel has also been known to have rubbed elbows with socialites and celebrities like Nicki Minaj and Paris Hilton.
While an investigation is underway, Angola froze her assets, but she need not worry since she has been residing in Portugal since 2017. However, in cooperation with the Angolan government, Portugal has also ordered to freeze her bank accounts.
Isabel is considered a principal suspect in the misappropriation of funds from Songangol, a state oil company in Angola, a country rich in oil. In 2016, she became the head of the company and during that time, her dad was still the president.
The following year, the next president Joao Lourenco ordered her to vacate the position. A day after this, documents proved that Isabel transferred $58 million from the oil venture to Matter Business Solutions, a Dubai-based company that is owned by one of her friends Pula Oliveira.
Also, the bank account of Sonangol was from EuroBic, which Isabel had a 42.5-percent stake that is worth $200 million. When the news erupted, the Portuguese bank announced that it was cutting ties with the disgraced billionaire.
On top of that, Angolan authorities are also questioning the $115-million consulting fees she transferred while still with the company.
In January, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists obtained over 715,000 documents that showed how Isabel fraudulently built her empire from corruption and nepotism, which she vehemently denied in an interview. She said that this was the work of the current government that aims to discredit her.
Angola’s prosecutor general, Helder Pitra Gros, vowed authorities will bring Isabel back to the African country no matter what. Isabel called the allegations lies and highlighted how her actions have benefited the country that is economically struggling.
Her empire consists of diamonds, banking, telecommunications, engineering, real estate, and oil both in Portugal and Angola.