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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Tuesday 21st of January 2020

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The Latest Daily PodCast can be found here on the Front Page of the site

Macro Thoughts

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Galleria Vik Galleria VikSOURCE: GALLERIA VIK MILANO Where to Go in 2020 @luxury

Start in Milan, where the owners of Galleria Vik have adorned 89
stuccoed rooms with their fabulous contemporary art

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the feedback loop and the risks of die back where we enter a phase of "cascading system collapse"
Law & Politics

''Entire ecosystems are collapsing’’
“We are in the beginning of a mass extinction''

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MEK based in #Albania and backed by #Washington - now using the new cover name #NCRI - attacks #Iranian military bases in #Tehran and #Mashhad - via @timand2037
Law & Politics

In the early hours of yesterday, Sunday, January 19, 2020, defiant
youth targeted the IRGC’s so-called Mohammad Rasoulollah base in
Tehran’s Jannat-Abad District.
In another development, in the early hours of this morning, Monday,
January 20, 2020, defiant youth targeted the Command HQ of the State
Security Force in Mashhad’s Malek-Abad Boulevard.
These two bases played an active role in the suppression of the
November 2019 nationwide uprising and the massacre of the people and
youth, killing and wounding hundreds of protesters.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
January 20, 2020

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1095
Dollar Index 97.575
Japan Yen 109.95
Swiss Franc 0.9677
Pound 1.3014
Aussie 0.6863
India Rupee 71.1755
South Korea Won 1167.06
Brazil Real 4.1903
Egypt Pound 15.7898
South Africa Rand 14.5274

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Frontier Markets

Sub Saharan Africa

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23 APR 18 :: The Pivot Towards the Commonwealth

I blinked when I saw the raw data, that there are 2.4b of us and that
in fact the Commonwealth is bigger than Facebook.
The freshly minted Commonweal- th Youth Ambassador Prince Harry said
“60% of the Commonwealth is under the age of 30 and at 1.4 billion
strong, it is you who are going to change the world.”
Prince Harry added : “You are the most optimistic, connected
generation the world has ever known”.
According to the raw data, the Commonwealth boasts a combined Gross
National Income of $10.7 trillion and this is expected to rise to $14
trillion by 2020.

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20-JAN-2020 :: The Maghreb a decade later The Intrusion of Middle Powers

I learnt from William Dalrymple in an article in the Financial Times
that it was a a Berber cavalry commander Quintus Lollius Urbicus who
after Hadrian’s death, was sent westward, to the furthest and most
uncivilised extremity of the empire, becoming the first African
Governor of Britain. The story of the apex of his brilliant career is
told in a second inscription found at the somewhat unlikely site of
Balmuildy, just to the north of Glasgow. It was wealthy north Africans
who crushed the Caledonian resistance and seized north Britain for the
Romans. By the end of the second century, a third of the Roman senate
was north African while the Emperor Septimius Severus grew up a little
to the east in Leptis Magna (now in modern Libya).
Modern Day Algeria finally rid itself of Bouteflika the wheelchair
bound last year but North Africa otherwise known as the Maghreb
remains volatile and is still yet to emerge from the ''Arab Spring''
which was triggered by the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi on 17
December 2010, which then begat the Egyptian revolution of 2011, also
known as the January 25 Revolution, which toppled Hosni Mubarak and
then circled back to topple Muammar Gaddafi [“I tell the coward
crusaders: I live in a place where you can’t get me. I live in the
hearts of millions.”] with a great deal of help from the Merchants of
Regime Change led by Hilary [''We came, we saw, he died''] Clinton.
interestingly, the Advance Guard of mercenary ''Head Choppers'' were
then exfiltrated from Benghazi to Syria but their Advance was resisted
with a great deal of help by Putin and they are now being roundtripped
back to Libya, as we speak, by Turkey's Erdogan. Tunisia, where it all
started just under a decade ago, is in a steadier state. Egypt after a
brief interregnum under the Muslim Brotherhood has reverted to
''Military'' rule and lashings of repression but Al-Sisi used the
opportunity to reform the Economy and Egypt has been the ''Darling''
of International Investors and the destination for the best carry
Trade in the World for a number of years. Since 2010 and over the last
ten years, Middle Powers like Turkey, the UAE [whom Mattis
characterised as ''Little Sparta''], Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey
[Israel and Russia too but they cannot be characterised as Middle
Powers] have all extended their reach into the Maghreb and the Horn of
Africa. The schism which started in the Gulf has spread like a virus.
I remain a little surprised that the UAE and Saudi Arabia have not
visited economic warfare on Istanbul because it does look ripe for the
plucking but then Al-Thani is probably providing a backstop.
The New York Times has an Article about Mohammed bin Zayed and it reads thus
Then the driver pulled up outside a building where Clarke heard
popping sounds. He went inside and saw a group of young women in
military uniforms, firing pistols at targets. Seated not far away was
M.B.Z., in his white tunic and ear-protection muffs, alongside his
wife and an empty third chair reserved for Clarke. During a lull in
the shooting, M.B.Z. introduced the women, who were all his daughters
and nieces. “I’m starting a draft,” M.B.Z. said. “I want everyone in
the country to feel like they’re responsible. A lot of them are fat
and lazy.” To stimulate the draft, he said, he would begin with all
the young people in his own family.
[how the] U.A.E. approached Sisi and outlined the terms of their
financial support before Morsi’s overthrow. “I think there’s every
reason to believe he staged a coup,” I was told by one former
diplomat. “For a tiny country in the Persian Gulf to overthrow the
ruler of Egypt and put their guy in, that’s a big achievement.”
The main Theatre for Proxy operations is Libya. Gaddafi characterised
Libya as a Cork and he said to Tony Blair that if he was toppled Libya
and Africa would be uncorked. It was a prescient prediction. On one
side we have General Haftar a dual Libyan-American citizen who is the
Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) and is bankrolled and
supported by the UAE, Egypt, France and Greece On the other side we
have the Government of National Accord led by Prime Minister Fayez
al-Sarraj and supported by Turkey and Qatar because they have been
joined at the hip for a while now. President Putin started on Haftar's
side but likes to play a ''balancing'' role and might well eventually
align with Turkey. Germany is currently holding a Peace Conference
this week. The US is sidelined other than making te odd phone call.
Libya is clearly an example of geopolitical ''cliff edge'' risks. The
Horn of Africa exhibits entirely similar characteristics. In fact,
from the Maghreb to the Sahel to the Horn of Africa, we are witnessing
a surge in asymmetric warfare and the intrusion of Middle Powers.

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Ottoman expansionist dreams of the 1800s epicenter was the Lake Chad basin, where Turkish communities still exist conducting trade... @amlivemon

Erdogan may leverage those communities with Moscow to expand African
aspirations and counterbalance US-French led missions

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Erdogan says Somalia has invited Turkey to explore for oil in its seas - NTV @Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Somalia had
invited Turkey to explore for oil in its seas, after Ankara signed a
maritime agreement with Libya last year, broadcaster NTV reported.
Turkey has been a major source of aid to Somalia following a famine in
2011 as Ankara seeks to increase its influence in the Horn of Africa
to counter Gulf rivals like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Turkish engineers are helping build roads in Somalia, and Turkish
officers have trained Somali soldiers as part of efforts to build up
the country's army.
Speaking to reporters on his flight back from a Libya summit in
Berlin, Erdogan said Turkey would take steps in line with the Somali
invitation, but did not elaborate further.
"There is an offer from Somalia. They are saying: 'There is oil in our
seas. You are carrying out these operations with Libya, but you can
also do them here.' This is very important for us," Erdogan was cited
as saying by NTV.
"Therefore, there will be steps that we will take in our operations there."

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How Africa's Richest Woman Exploited Family Ties, Shell Companies And Inside Deals To Build An Empire @ICIJorg #LuandaLeaks A

Two decades of unscrupulous deals that made Isabel dos Santos Africa’s
wealthiest woman and left oil- and diamond-rich Angola one of the
poorest countries on Earth.
A web of more than 400 companies and subsidiaries in 41 countries
linked to Isabel dos Santos or her husband, Sindika Dokolo, including
94 in secrecy jurisdictions like Malta, Mauritius and Hong Kong.
How a cadre of Western business advisers moved money, set up
companies, audited accounts, suggested ways to avoid taxes and turned
a blind eye to red flags that experts say should have raised serious
Directed hundreds of millions of loans and contracts to her companies.

She spun a story the world wanted to believe: a self-made billionaire
who had risen in a male-dominated business world in an African country
ravaged by civil war and poverty.
In public appearances in the spring of 2017, Isabel dos Santos, then
head of Angola’s giant state oil company, Sonangol Group, mingled with
Hollywood legends on the French Riviera and charmed oil tycoons in
Houston with tales of hard work and accomplishment.
Wearing her trademark black blazer at the London Business School, the
44-year-old chairwoman told a packed audience that leaders should be
chosen on their merits.
“I’ve been managing companies for a long time, starting them from
small, building them up, going through every single stage of what it
takes for a company to be successful,” she said.

Left unmentioned in London: That she had been installed in the top job
at Sonangol by her father, José Eduardo dos Santos, the longtime
Angolan autocrat. That over the years he had awarded her companies
public contracts, tax breaks, telecom licenses and diamond-mining
rights. And that even as she spoke to the crowd of aspiring
entrepreneurs, she was paving the way for one of her most brazen
insider deals — the payment of tens of millions of dollars from the
state oil monopoly to a company in Dubai controlled by her business
partner. Luanda Leaks, a new investigation by the International
Consortium of Investigative Journalists and 36 media partners, exposes
two decades of unscrupulous deals that made dos Santos Africa’s
wealthiest woman and left oil- and diamond-rich Angola one of the
poorest countries on Earth. Based on more than 715,000 confidential
financial and business records and hundreds of interviews, Luanda
Leaks offers a case study of a growing global problem: Thieving
rulers, often called kleptocrats, and their family members and
associates are moving ill-gotten public money to offshore secrecy
jurisdictions, often with the help of prominent Western firms. From
there, the money is used to buy up properties, businesses and other
valuable assets, or it is simply hidden away, safe from tax
authorities and criminal investigators.

“The movement of dirty money through shell companies into the
international financial system to be laundered, recycled, and deployed
for political influence is accelerating,” said Larry Diamond, a senior
fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. “It heightens the
danger of political violence and human rights abuses.”

Public corruption drags down economies, erodes faith in democracy and
diverts money that could otherwise be spent on hospitals, schools and
roads. Transparency International rates Angola as one of the most
corrupt countries in the world. The average life expectancy is just
60. About 5% of infants die before their first birthday. The Luanda
Leaks documents were provided to ICIJ by the Platform to Protect
Whistleblowers in Africa, or PPLAFF, a Paris-based advocacy group. The
trove contains emails, internal memos from dos Santos companies,
contracts, consultant reports, tax returns, private audits and videos
of business meetings. The documents, in Portuguese and English, date
back to 1980, but mostly cover the last decade. They include
descriptions of palatial homes in Lisbon and Monaco and a deluxe
vacation featuring private aircraft and a speedboat. Emails show
underlings fretting about risky bank loans and financial advisers
fielding dos Santos’ requests to pay a bill from luxury fashion
designer Valentino and open a new bank account offshore. ICIJ found
that dos Santos, her husband and their intermediaries built a business
empire with more than 400 companies and subsidiaries in 41 countries,
including at least 94 in secrecy jurisdictions like Malta, Mauritius
and Hong Kong. Over the past decade, these companies got consulting
jobs, loans, public works contracts and licenses worth billions of
dollars from the Angolan government. Dos Santos and her husband used
their archipelago of shell companies to avoid scrutiny and invest in
real estate, energy and media businesses. Documents also show
businesses linked to the couple steering consulting fees, loans and
contracts to shell companies they control in the British Virgin
Islands, the Netherlands and Malta.

In one case identified by ICIJ, thousands of families were forcibly
evicted from their Luanda homes on land that was part of a
redevelopment project involving a dos Santos company. They also
secured large stakes in banks, allowing them to finance this empire
even as other financial institutions backed away amid concerns about
dos Santos’ ties to the Angolan state. The family’s worsening
reputation didn’t spook brand-name accountants and consultants, which
continued to work for dos Santos-linked businesses, ICIJ found. Big
companies and state-backed entities from China and the Netherlands
continued to partner with the family’s private businesses. Angolan
government officials told ICIJ that they are investigating whether dos
Santos and associates looted hundreds of millions of dollars from the
state’s oil and diamond-trading companies. That includes a $38 million
payment in November 2017 from Sonangol to a company in Dubai
controlled by a dos Santos associate, a transfer ordered hours after
Angola’s new president fired her from her job as head of the state oil
company. The officials also said that public contracts awarded by her
father’s regime to her companies were inflated by more than $1

In December, two weeks after ICIJ questioned Angola’s government about
dos Santos’ business dealings, an Angolan court froze her major
assets, including banks, a telecom company and a brewery. The
government is trying to recover $1.1 billion that it says is owed by
dos Santos, her husband and a close associate of the couple.

Through their U.S. lawyers, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, dos
Santos and her husband denied wrongdoing and said they did not profit
from political connections. Carter-Ruck, a UK law firm representing
Isabel dos Santos, said the businesswoman denied all wrongdoing,
including any allegations of looting, fraud, contract overcharging and
other misconduct. The law firm said in a 10-page response that dos
Santos didn’t use offshore vehicles to avoid paying taxes. She denied
any of her companies evicted people. Dos Santos and the owner of the
Dubai consulting company said the Dubai payments were for legitimate
services provided to the state oil company. In recent interviews, dos
Santos, whose fortune is estimated at about $2 billion, said the
government is on a “witch hunt” against her family. She denied that
contracts were steered to her or that she was shown favoritism when
her father was president. Shortly after the asset freeze, she posted a
reassuring message on Twitter for her followers and employees. She
condemned the government’s move as politically motivated.
Dos Santos declined ICIJ’s requests for an interview. In an interview
with BBC News, which asked several questions on behalf of ICIJ, dos
Santos called the inquiry a “political persecution.”
“My holdings are commercial,” she said. “There are no proceeds from
contracts or public contracts, or money that has been deviated from
public funds.”
Her husband, Sindika Dokolo, told Radio France Internationale, one of
ICIJ’s partners in France, that the Angolan government is wrongfully
targeting him and his wife.
“They want to blame us for all the corruption and bankruptcy in
Angola,” Dokolo said. “We pay taxes in Europe, and we’re Angola’s
biggest tax contributor. We’ve worked and invested a lot in this
country, more than many others.”
Dos Santos’ father and Angola’s former president, José Eduardo, didn’t
respond to ICIJ’s requests for comment.

A daughter of ‘Comrade Number One’

Isabel dos Santos, age 46, was born in an Azerbaijan oil town, Baku,
where her parents met while attending a state university devoted to
oil and chemistry. Her Russian mother, Tatiana Kukanova, was studying
geology. Her father — the future Angolan president and “Comrade Number
One” — was then an exiled guerilla leader in the Popular Movement for
the Liberation of Angola (known by its Portuguese acronym MPLA). In
1975, the Portuguese colony became one of the last in Africa to gain
independence. José Eduardo dos Santos returned home with his wife and
infant daughter. Kukanova went to work at Sonangol, the newly formed
and fast-growing national oil company. A former executive recalls
seeing Isabel at the office sitting on her mother’s lap. José Eduardo
quickly rose through the ranks of the now-ruling MPLA. The death of
Angola’s first president, Agostinho Neto, propelled the former
guerilla fighter to power in 1979. With a brutal civil war dividing
Angola José Eduardo moved swiftly to cement control, placing friends
in key posts. He acquired near-dictatorial powers, including over
Sonangol. The oil company would become a pillar of the regime and the
Angolan economy, accounting for more than 90 percent of total export
revenue. Oil paid for everything — roads, bridges, food imports and
the military. The marriage to Kukanova didn’t last. In 1978, dos
Santos fathered a son, José Filomeno, in a separate relationship. The
following year, Kukanova moved with her daughter to London. Isabel
spent her teens attending an elite prep school and went on to King’s
College London, where she received an engineering degree. Her
financial managers, the leaked documents show, later referred to her
as “The Engineer.” In 1992, President dos Santos changed the Angolan
constitution to say the president could not be prosecuted for any
official actions “except in the event of bribery or treason to the
motherland.” The new language opened the way for him to give public
assets to family and friends. Dos Santos treated Angola “like his
personal farm,” Salvador Freire, a leading human rights lawyer in
Luanda, told ICIJ. His eldest daughter was a prime beneficiary. In
1999, the president set up the Angola Selling Corp. with an exclusive
license to market Angolan diamonds, another pillar of the country’s
economy. He gave a separate company — controlled by Isabel dos Santos
and her mother — a 24.5% share in Angola Selling Corp. A year later,
the dos Santos government issued a hugely valuable mobile
telecommunications license, one of the country’s first, to a company
called Unitel. Among its owners and founders: Isabel dos Santos.

“Our proposal was one of the most daring and aggressive ones,” she told the BBC.

Lisbon bonanza

In December 2002, hundreds of guests crowded into a 17th-century
Luanda cathedral to witness the wedding of Isabel, then 29, to Sindika
Dokolo, age 30, a wealthy Congolese businessman and art collector.
With a passion for Porsches, American professional basketball and
African art, the outgoing Dokolo would become a key business partner
to his wife and her champion. She is a “general on the battlefield,”
he said in a 2017 interview.
By her early 30s, dos Santos owned luxury apartments in London and
Lisbon worth millions. She had a taste for things Western: art shows
in Miami, Dolce & Gabbana fashions, weekends in Paris. And she
remained close to her father. At family gatherings, the two would
sometimes pull out guitars and jam together. In a TV interview years
later, she said that from her first day at school, when her father
held her hand and gave her courage, he remained a “great source of
inspiration.” Her father’s connections opened doors to one of her most
important business relationships: Portuguese billionaire Américo
Amorim. Amorim had started in his family’s cork business before
expanding into energy, real estate and banks. With an oil boom
creating demand for new financial institutions, Amorim and the
president’s daughter teamed up to launch Banco BIC SA in 2005. It is
now one of the largest banks in Angola, with $4.2 billion in assets.
The partners subsequently moved into cement, real estate and energy.
To manage their growing empire, Isabel dos Santos and her husband set
up an operational base in central Lisbon on posh Avenida da Liberdade
above a Louis Vuitton flagship store. Mario Filipe Moreira Leite da
Silva, an accountant formerly with the Big Four firm PwC, joined their
financial management firm, Fidequity, and took charge of their
Silva, named one of the country’s most powerful people by a Portuguese
news channel, would become a key adviser and troubleshooter for the
couple and a director at more than a dozen of their companies. For
legal work, she turned to Jorge Brito Pereira, a prominent legal
scholar who at the time was a partner with the powerhouse Lisbon-based
law firm PLMJ. In 2005, Amorim and Sonangol closed a deal that would
give the couple a valuable stake in an energy company at a
bargain-basement price. It was their first major international deal.
The Portuguese billionaire and Sonangol formed an investment firm,
Amorim Energia BV, which then bought a third of Portugal’s high-flying
energy company, Galp Energia. The idea for the deal came from Isabel
dos Santos, her husband told Radio France Internationale. “The goal
was to work on the whole [oil supply] chain from production to pumps,
including the refineries,” Dokolo said. “Sonangol had neither the
connections nor the skills to put together such an ambitious business
plan.” The Amorim-Sonangol joint venture named Dokolo to its board.
Dos Santos had “significant influence” on the company, according to a
confidential report on her holdings prepared by her financial
advisers. A year later, Sonangol sold 40% of its stake in the joint
venture to Dokolo’s Swiss company, Exem Holding AG. The purchase price
was $99 million, but Sonangol agreed to lend Exem most of the money
needed to complete the sale, receiving just $15 million up front. In
the interview with the BBC, dos Santos said the deal benefited all
sides. “This investment generated a large amount of return for all the
parties that invested jointly,” she said. ”There are no wrongdoings.”
Dokolo told ICIJ that the loan was fully repaid in 2017. Sonangol said
it rejected the repayment offered in Angolan currency as a violation
of the deal. It considers the balance outstanding. Sonangol didn’t
explain why it agreed to sell the stake in the lucrative joint-venture
to the then-president’s son-in-law. Today the stake is worth about
$800 million.

Shell games

Isabel dos Santos’ fortune was growing. Her advisers looked for ways
to protect it. In 2009, her business empire had expanded to include
stakes in Portuguese banks and media companies, which provided her
with millions of dollars in dividends. She renovated her $2.5 million
duplex penthouse in Lisbon. One invoice reviewed by ICIJ showed
$50,000 spent on curtains, $9,200 on chaise lounges and nearly $7,500
on gym equipment from Harrods. Six years later, she bought a second
apartment on one of the same floors for $2.3 million, though local
land registry records don’t indicate if the two units were merged into
one. Over the coming decade, the dos Santos team would set up shell
companies in many tax havens but quickly settled on a favorite: Malta.
The tiny Mediterranean nation, now embroiled in a political crisis
over the 2017 car-bomb murder of an investigative journalist, is
notorious for lax enforcement of laws against money laundering. Its
officials rarely ask questions about the origin of foreign cash
deposits or follow up on allegations of corruption or illicit money
flows, according to a recent International Monetary Fund report. Among
the documents in the Luanda Leaks is a 16-page guide on the tax
advantages of Malta, written by dos Santos’ lawyers at PLMJ. The 2015
pitch explained how, by incorporating a company in Malta, a client can
start a business and collect dividends, interest and royalties without
paying any withholding taxes. The dos Santos team hired PwC’s Malta
office to audit company accounts. PLMJ and PwC declined to comment on
services they provided to dos Santos companies. The team also engaged
an all-star local crew, including a former chief executive of the
Malta Financial Services Authority and a former member of Parliament,
to serve as directors for dos Santos shell companies. Dos Santos and
her husband used a Maltese shell company, Athol Limited, to buy a $55
million apartment in Monte Carlo, documents show. The
7,600-square-foot property was on the sixth floor of a luxurious
complex named La Petite Afrique overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. In
2010, Dokolo incorporated two Malta companies to acquire a controlling
stake in a struggling Swiss luxury jeweler called de Grisogono. His
business partner in the deal was Angola’s diamond-trading agency,
Sodiam, which co-owned the Maltese entities. Dokolo’s idea was to
create a company that would control Angola’s diamond industry from
mining to polishing to retail, he told ICIJ through his lawyers.
Sodiam helped finance the acquisition and loaned the jewelry company
more than $120 million total, records show. Dokolo — who invested his
own funds in the jewelry company — had “full control of the
management,” according to a draft shareholder agreement in the leaked
documents. In the interview with RFI, Dokolo said the use of offshore
jurisdictions was a business necessity. “It is very difficult for
someone from Angola or the [Democratic Republic of the Congo], which
are countries completely blacklisted on European markets, to open a
bank account on European soil,” he said. “If you are like me, a
politically exposed person since 2001, it is almost impossible. I can
be criticized for using financial vehicles located in tax havens, but
is that illegal?” The couple claimed through lawyers to have received
no tax benefits through their offshore companies. The couple’s empire
of shell companies grew steadily. By March 2013, they had created or
invested in at least 94 companies in 19 countries. A third of these
were shell companies. That month, Isabel dos Santos was named to
Forbes’ World’s Billionaires List. Among the people listed, she was
the youngest from Africa and Africa’s only woman.

Ambition and eviction

By the time she was 40, dos Santos had accumulated major shareholdings
in media, banking, energy, retail and more. She owned 25% of Unitel,
the mobile phone company that had turned into a cash machine. From
2006 to 2015, it would pay out more than $5 billion in dividends to
shareholders, ICIJ calculated. She owned stakes in two Portuguese
banks, Banco BIC and Banco BPI, a communications group called ZON
Multimédia and its affiliate, ZAP, a satellite TV service. She
controlled Angola’s biggest cement producer, Nova Cimangola. She was
preparing to launch Candando, a supermarket chain, and Sodiba, a
beverage company that distributed an Angolan beer called Luandina. Dos
Santos was now a leading economic force in Angola; her companies
employed thousands. In Luanda, shoppers would soon carry Candando
bags, watch ZAP TV and sip Luandina lager. Orange-trimmed Unitel
stores were everywhere. She presented herself as a public-spirited,
self-made success.

In 2013, soon after she was named a billionaire, she told the
Financial Times that her entrepreneurial spirit dated back to age 6,
when she started her first business, selling chicken eggs to support
her cotton candy habit.
“I’m someone who wakes up in the morning, very early, goes out to the
field, puts on the boots,” dos Santos recently told the BBC. “I build
stuff, if necessary. If I need to carry boxes with my staff, and we
need to put it on the shelves, I’ll be putting it on the shelves in my
In Luanda, her hometown, dos Santos had been amassing buildings and
other property for years and working on her next big venture: a
massive urban-renewal project.
In later interviews, dos Santos said she no longer recognized the city
of her childhood and wanted to uplift it. The civil war had forced
millions of people from the land-mine-strewn countryside to urban
areas. Shantytowns were everywhere.
Dos Santos said she wanted a Luanda of wide boulevards, green open
spaces and a sweeping coastline studded with high-rise apartments.
“What we really want to see is people living in African cities to go
from living in dwellings to living in homes,” she said.
Remaking a city would require outside help.
In early 2013, representatives of her real estate and
construction-management firm, Urbinveste, began meeting with
executives of Dutch giant Van Oord Dredging & Marine Contractors BV,
according to confidential emails and other documents.
The Dutch and Angolan partners discussed a dredging and construction
job that would include artificial islands, a new beach, a fishery port
and a coastal road. She would later say the plan involved “highly
specialized dredging and land reclamation” and “no need to evict or
relocate any residents or any communities.” The project would be done
on “100% reclaimed land from the sea.”
The cost would total $1.3 billion.
Maps from Luanda Leaks show that the plan cut through a vibrant
50-year-old fishing community and some of the best beaches in Luanda.
Home to some 3,000 families, its name was Areia Branca, Portuguese for
“White Sands.”
On May 10th, the concept was pitched to the president himself,
according to a report by the local development agency. Different
developers had drawn up other plans for the area as recently as 2009.
The consortium led by dos Santos’ company got the go-ahead.
Before dawn on a Saturday in June 2013, soldiers, police and members
of the presidential guard moved into Areia Branca. Residents were
evicted, and bulldozers set to work demolishing houses, according to
complaints and letters compiled by Luanda-based nonprofit SOS Habitat.
The neighborhood was leveled.
“There was nothing; no warning, no notice, nothing,” recalled Talitha
Miguel, a 41-year-old schoolteacher, in an interview with Trouw,
ICIJ’s Dutch media partner. “It was as if it were a massacre.”

Reputation under fire

On June 12, 2013, less than two weeks after the Areia Branca
evictions, dos Santos faced a question about a massive transfer of
money. Unitel had made $460 million in loans the previous year to a
Dutch shell company called Unitel International Holdings, later
revealed to be owned by dos Santos. Luis Pacheco de Melo, a
representative of PT Ventures, one of four partners in Unitel, asked
at a shareholders meeting whether the board of directors had signed
off on the deal. Dos Santos assured him that the loans were properly
approved, according to board meeting minutes. De Melo wasn’t the only
one asking about the family’s finances. An agent in charge of
registering Mauritius companies for dos Santos’ telecom business found
information about her “source of wealth” missing from the documents. A
$1.3 million transfer from the Maltese holding company that controlled
the Swiss jeweler to a Dokolo shell in the British Virgin Islands
baffled a Swiss accountant. Auditors for the Maltese company couldn’t
find agreements for millions of dollars in loans from the Angolan
government to the jewelry company. On the Isle of Man, John Murphy, a
local director for a shell company used to acquire London real estate,
discovered a mysterious $50 million credit on its bank statement. “It
cause[s] us serious concern,” Murphy said in an August 2015 email to a
dos Santos attorney. He resigned soon after. And, the documents show,
Western banks started to back away. Regulators globally had been
cracking down on financial institutions that didn’t carefully vet
public officials and those connected to them. Banks and financial
regulators consider these clients, known as “politically exposed
persons,” or PEPs, as money laundering risks. In 2012, Citigroup
Global Markets Limited abruptly abandoned an investment deal linked to
dos Santos; the banking giant later paid $15 million as part of a
confidential settlement. Barclays Bank bailed on a similar deal a year
later. Both banks were responding to concerns about the company’s
shareholders, including Sonangol and Exem Energy, documents show.
Emails show that the dos Santos financial team struggled to find banks
to handle her growing business.

“I’m a bit concerned on the Deutsche,” wrote Konema Mwenenge, one of
Dokolo’s closest advisers, referring to Deutsche Bank. “Sindika had
accounts with Deutsche in the past and [they] were closed. They also
blocked some of his payments when they acted as correspondent banks
for several beneficiaries.”
Dutch trust company Intertrust and ING bank closed accounts of dos
Santos and Dokolo-linked companies that invested in Galp.
One dos Santos business manager told another in an email that one bank
had said Dutch authorities were scrutinizing her companies and
imposing “extremely complex diligence” requirements.
One dos Santos executive complained to another that Spanish banking
giant Banco Santander “ran like the devil from the cross” because of
her status as a politically exposed person.
In September 2013, dos Santos’ reputation took a big public hit. In an
article written by Kerry A. Dolan, a staff writer, and Rafael Marques,
a journalist and activist, Forbes magazine reported that dos Santos
had exploited her status as Angola’s first daughter on her way to
amassing a fortune that the magazine then put at $3 billion.
“As best as we can trace,” the story said, “every major Angolan
investment held by Dos Santos stems either from taking a chunk of a
company that wants to do business in the country or from a stroke of
the president’s pen that cut her into the action.”
To counter bad news, dos Santos hired Portugal’s best-known public
relations consultant, Luis Paixão Martins and his firm, LPM
Communication, which specialized in what it called “online reputation
management,” “storyselling” and “media coaching.”
PR operatives touted dos Santos’ business and philanthropic
achievements. Dos Santos granted interviews and began to appear on
panels at high-profile corporate events.
In 2015, she opened an Instagram account that would soon become her
online calling card and now reaches 187,000 followers with snippets of
news and homespun wisdom.
That July, she posted about her latest business, a shopping mall set
to open in a Luanda suburb, and said it would create 600 new jobs. She
As dos Santos sought to repair her reputation, the dispute with the
dissident Unitel shareholder flared into the open.
PT Ventures filed an arbitration complaint with the International
Chamber of Commerce in Paris, alleging that Unitel’s Angolan
shareholders had wrongly withheld board seats and dividends.
It also alleged that hundreds of millions in loans made to the dos
Santos Dutch shell company were part of a “scheme to loot Unitel of
its assets … for the benefit of Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of
Angola’s President.”
Luanda Leaks documents show dos Santos signed off on the disputed
loans as both borrower and the lender.
Unitel couldn’t show proof that its board had approved the loans. Dos
Santos’ company denied the looting allegations and said all decisions
were made in “the best interests of Unitel.”
Increasingly excluded from the mainstream Western financial world, the
dos Santos empire needed capital. Defiant, dos Santos blamed
anti-African bias and vowed to build “a true African network” of banks
as an alternative.
“Africa has been cut out from financial institutions,” dos Santos told
business students in London in 2017. “There’s a lot of
discrimination,” she said. “We have taken upon ourselves to build
these banks.”
She increasingly leaned on her African network, including Banco BIC
Cabo Verde. The bank, which she part-owned, helped her businesses move
huge sums – and saw profits skyrocket.
From 2013 to 2017, the bank turned a 1.7 million euro ($2.3 million)
loss into a 12.9 million euro ($15.5 million) profit, according to
ICIJ partner Finance Uncovered.
In Europe, dos Santos relied on the last bank that remained friendly
to her businesses: Banco BIC Portugues (now EuroBic), in which she
owned nearly half of the shares. The bank’s then-chairman, Fernando
Teles, was a dos Santos business partner.
When dos Santos’ husband inquired about an $11.9 million loan for his
de Grisogono jewelry business, Mario Silva, the couple’s business
manager, confirmed that the financing would be provided. He said Teles
could greenlight more bank loans. Teles did not respond to requests
for comment. Eventually, Banco BIC, too, came under government
In 2015, Portuguese central bank regulators had begun investigating
allegations of self-dealing along with hundreds of “high-risk’’
transactions at Banco BIC, some involving dos Santos, according to a
confidential central bank report, obtained by ICIJ’s Portuguese
partner Expresso.
The regulators probed lax anti-money-laundering procedures, inadequate
due diligence on politically exposed people — including dos Santos,
her husband and her mother — and the preferential $11.9 million loan
to Dokolo for de Grisogono.
They found that the bank had failed to monitor multimillion-dollar
transfers out of Angola to European-based companies linked to dos
Santos, her husband and associates.
Neither dos Santos nor anyone else was ever charged with wrongdoing.
In a statement to ICIJ, a spokesman for the central bank, Banco de
Portugal, said regulators ordered Banco BIC to tighten procedures.
In a recent interview with a Portuguese news organization, dos Santos
criticized media coverage of the bank inquiry and said she was a
victim of “sensationalism.”
“There’s nothing in the report that mentions me,” she said.

From crisis, an opportunity

The 2014 collapse of world oil prices sparked Angola’s biggest
economic crisis in decades. As the months dragged on, trash piled up
in the streets of Luanda. Public hospitals ran out of syringes and
antimalarial drugs. Women gave birth by cell phone flashlight. Angola
had used oil as collateral for loans from China to build roads and
dams. Now it could no longer pay its debts, and Beijing wasn’t happy.
Neither were Chevron, ExxonMobil and Total, which were also owed
hundreds of millions of dollars. In the past, Sonangol had come to the
rescue. But costs at Angola’s state oil monopoly had ballooned during
the flush years. Now it was going broke. Amid the bad news, dos Santos
companies found opportunity. On Sept. 16, 2015, nothing less than the
future of Sonangol was on the agenda at a meeting Isabel dos Santos
attended that included Alexandre Gorito, a Luanda-based senior partner
at U.S. consulting giant Boston Consulting Group. Boston Consulting,
hired by dos Santos advisers, pitched a 52-page plan to rescue the
state oil company. Working with the Lisbon-based law firm Vieira de
Almeida, Boston Consulting would seek to amend government rules and
laws as part of a restructuring to increase Sonangol’s efficiency,
Luanda Leaks documents show. The plan included a leading role for a
Maltese company, Wise Intelligence Solutions. Its only shareholders
were dos Santos and her husband. The consultants and lawyers also
revised a draft presidential decree creating a special government
commission to oversee the Sonangol overhaul. One month later,
President dos Santos issued the decree forming the special commission.
The Ministry of Finance gave Wise a $9.3 million contract to advise
the panel. Wise wouldn’t work alone. One of the company’s accountants
told dos Santos’ financial advisors in an email he believed Wise did
“not have the human resources and specific know-how” to deliver
without subcontractors. Wise would go on to hire Boston Consulting,
along with PwC. Dos Santos later said the Angolan government asked for
her help because she had international private-sector experience. The
Western firms she brought in, she said, were “advisers that had worked
with me in the past and that I trusted.” Under the contract, Boston
Consulting would propose a new operating model for the oil company.
Boston Consulting received $3.7 million from Wise, the leaked records
show. PwC was paid $273,000 and Vieira de Almeida lawyers at least
$490,000. It’s unclear how much Wise kept. Vieira de Almeida
spokeswoman Matilde Horta e Costa told ICIJ that the law firm “takes
its client intake and risk management procedures very seriously” and
never advised dos Santos as an individual client. Boston Consulting
spokeswoman Nidhi Sinha told The New York Times, an ICIJ partner, that
in Angola the firm “reviewed the payment structures and contracts … to
ensure compliance with established policies and avoid corruption and
other risks.”

Grand vision

After 35 years in power, President dos Santos signaled that he would
soon step down. The global oil slump and ensuing economic free fall
had led to a spiral of public protests, government repression and
violence. With retirement looming, the president made bold moves that
would benefit his daughter. His administration awarded an array of
public works contracts, saying it hoped to boost employment and put
money in the pockets of Angolans.
ICIJ’s reporting shows, however, that some of the main beneficiaries
were Isabel dos Santos’ businesses or the large or politically
connected firms and banks operating with her. In October 2015, the
president officially authorized the redevelopment project he had
approved one month before the Areia Branca evictions. The green light
came in a presidential decree that, ICIJ documents show, his
daughter’s lawyers in Portugal had helped to draft.An email from
Isabel dos Santos’ lawyers, with a draft of the presidential decree
attached. For the road work, documents sent to her personal email
account show, dos Santos reviewed bids from two Portuguese
construction firms and a higher quote from a Chinese state-owned
construction firm, China Road and Bridge Corp. One month later, the
general director of dos Santos’ construction and development company,
Landscape, announced that China Road had won the job with a bid $50
million higher than the lowest bid. The Chinese company provided good
financing prospects from the superpower’s trade agency, according to
internal emails justifying the choice. China Road was a favored
contracting partner of the Angolan government. At the time dos Santos’
company chose China Road as a business partner, it was barred from
participating in any project financed by the World Bank following
allegations that the company engaged in “fraudulent practices” on road
construction deals in the Philippines. China Road told ICIJ the
company complies with the law and opposes all forms of corruption.
When a lawyer for the cash-strapped Ministry of Finance (MoF) said it
couldn’t afford to cover a $232.5 million budget overrun on the
project, Isabel dos Santos dealt with it personally, records show.
Replying to her project coordinator on her iPhone 30 minutes after
receiving news of the possible snag, dos Santos wrote: “I don’t think
it’s a problem, because we’ll talk to the MoF right away.” She would
help the ministry fill the multimillion-dollar hole by spearheading a
consortium of local banks or identifying other sources of funds, dos
Santos wrote. A Dutch trade agency agreed to provide credit insurance
for the dredging and land reclamation part of the work, and the $1.3
billion job went forward. Urbinveste and another dos Santos company,
Landscape, stood to receive about $531 million, more than 40% of the
total spending. Some of that money was to be distributed to
subcontractors, and it isn’t clear how much Urbinveste and Landscape
ultimately collected. Dos Santos said in the BBC interview that she
didn’t profit from the deal. Leen Paape, a corporate governance
professor at Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands, examined
Luanda Leaks records at the request of ICIJ partner, Trouw.
Urbinveste’s budget contained red flags, Paape said, including $100
million earmarked for project management and other unspecified costs.
Such a large amount for project management, he said, “is not normal.”
The redevelopment plan quickly ran aground. Today, the site of the
former Areia Branca community is an empty spit of sand dotted with
grass and scrub trees. Many former Areia Branca residents live less
than 200 yards away in a slum littered with dead birds and rotting
food and swarming with flies and mosquitos. Residents live in small
huts of corrugated tin and wood, some sitting atop a mix of sewage
sludge and mud that comes in at high tide. Many share beds draped in
mosquito nets. Among them: Talitha Miguel, 41, a teacher and mother of
four. On a Sunday afternoon in October 2019, she sat outside her shack
with three friends, baking small golden brown cakes for the market
amid the sound of radios blaring popular music. Flies hovered around
them. Miguel said the pushed-out residents now have no running water
and only sporadic electricity. The area periodically floods, and the
water surges into their houses with waste from the bay.

“In Areia Branca, life was hard, but we had a fridge, a TV,” Miguel
said. The houses were bigger, and they didn’t flood. “We could breathe
pure air,” she said. “We stayed in front of the sea. We had trees. We
lived healthy.”

A friend in Dubai

In the spring of 2016, dos Santos and Dokolo bought a $35 million
yacht, the Hayken, through a shell company in the British Virgin
Islands. After its registration with an Isle of Man wealth-management
firm, the six-cabin, Dutch-built craft cruised the Mediterranean. The
Hayken was floating near Monaco on June 2 when the news broke: the dos
Santos administration had fired the Sonangol board and named the
president’s daughter to run the state oil giant, with its annual
revenue of nearly $14 billion. Africa’s richest woman was now also one
of its most powerful. Dos Santos later insisted that she was chosen
because of her business experience, not family ties. She said her goal
was to reform the bloated bureaucracy. The new administration at
Sonangol brought in the same advisers who helped dos Santos land the
earlier Sonangol restructuring contract: Boston Consulting, PwC and
Vieira de Almeida, the Lisbon law firm. Her administration tapped
Sarju Raikundalia, then a senior executive at PwC’s office in Angola,
as Sonangol’s chief financial officer. As her stand-in at board
meetings, she relied on her top personal financial adviser, Mário
Leite da Silva, according to a government document. Six weeks after
dos Santos took charge of Sonangol, a travel agent booked Silva on a
trip to Dubai, records show. The skyscraper-filled commercial hub is
famous for its tax-free trade zones, financial secrecy and lax
enforcement of laws against money laundering. Her lawyer, Jorge Brito
Pereira, arranged a trip to Dubai around the same time. Travel agents
reserved luxury hotel accommodations for the two dos Santos confidants
under the account of Wise Intelligence Solutions, the Malta company
that won the Sonangol restructructuring contract. Neither Pereira nor
Silva responded to requests for comment from ICIJ and its media
partners. Dos Santos kept a Dubai home at the Bulgari Resorts, a
high-end complex located on a private island in the Jumeirah Bay area.
In corporate papers filed in Malta, attorney Pereira listed the
complex as dos Santos’ residential address. In January 2017, a new
consulting firm with ties to dos Santos popped up in an office at the
sprawling Jumeirah Lakes Towers nearby. Ironsea Consulting, which
would soon be renamed Matter Business Solutions DMCC, had the same
sole shareholder, Paula Cristina Fidalgo Carvalho das Neves Oliveira.
Silva was a director of Matter, records show. Oliveira, 48, a
Portuguese businesswoman with Angolan and Portuguese addresses, has a
background in human-resources consulting. Oliveira and dos Santos had
been in business together since 2009, records show. They owned one of
the fanciest restaurants in Luanda, called Oon.dah. And they were
partners in a company called UCALL, which did employee evaluations for
Sonangol. Through her UK law firm Vardags, Oliveira denied wrongdoing
and said that any implication she was “some sort of stooge sitting as
proxy for Mrs. dos Santos” is false. She said dos Santos hired her
company to oversee the Sonangol overhaul because of her experience and
consulting know-how. Matter coordinated meetings, recruited and
managed experts, and made presentations to Sonangol’s board, her
lawyers said. Oliveira said that dos Santos “has no legal or
management role in Matter” and that fees were legitimate and properly
recorded. Dos Santos would later say that working 14-hour days, while
pregnant, she helped get Sonangol back on solid footing. She improved
its bookkeeping system, she said, hired people based on merit, reduced
costs and boosted transparency.

Swift exit

From her seat in the VIP section, dos Santos watched as her father,
José Eduardo dos Santos, walked a red carpet in Luanda’s Republic
Square. In September 2017, he handed over power at the inauguration of
his handpicked successor, João Lourenço. A former defense minister,
Lourenço took office with a vow to tackle corruption. The dos Santos
era was rapidly coming to a close.

Inside Sonangol, the scramble began.

On Nov. 7, 2017, two months after Lourenço’s inauguration, the head of
Sonangol’s subsidiary in the United Kingdom learned that she was about
to be replaced. Maria Sandra Lopes Julio, chief of Sonangol’s UK unit,
said she was sitting in her office when Sonangol’s CFO, Raikundalia,
walked in.
“He began by informing me that the Board of Directors of Sonangol EP
had decided on my resignation, as part of the ongoing transformation
process, and that I would be replaced by Mrs. Maria Rodrigues,” Julio
wrote in a five-page letter to Angola’s petroleum minister.
Julio wrote that Raikundalia told her that she wasn’t being terminated
for incompetence. In fact, he praised her performance.
“I couldn’t help but be amazed,” Julio wrote.
Three days after Julio’s dismissal, Sonangol signed a contract for
consulting services with Matter Business Solutions, the Dubai company
owned by dos Santos’ business partner, Paula Oliveira. Signing for
Sonangol: The new U.K. chief, Rodrigues. Oliveira signed for Matter.

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How Africa's Richest Woman Exploited Family Ties, Shell Companies And Inside Deals To Build An Empire @ICIJorg #LuandaLeaks B

The signatures cleared the way for a massive payment to the consulting
firm in Dubai.
In a telephone interview, Rodrigues told ICIJ that she had worked at
Sonangol since the early 2000s. Her brother married, then divorced, a
sister of José Eduardo dos Santos before he became president.
Rodrigues said that she remembers signing only one document during her
short stint as Sonangol’s U.K. chief, though she doesn’t recall the
subject, and that Sonangol CFO Raikundalia brought the document to
London and asked her to sign. Rodrigues said she doesn’t know
The contract stipulated that Sonangol would pay for past and future
services provided by Matter.
Five days later, on Nov. 15, 2017, President Lourenço fired Isabel dos
Santos as head of Sonangol.
The Angolan news agency reported the firing on a Wednesday at 1.31
p.m. At 6:30 pm that same day, Sonangol asked its Portuguese bankers
to pay $38 million to the bank account of Matter Business Solutions.
The transaction details appear on a payment order shared by dos Santos
with the news agency Lusa. Dos Santos said she approved the transfer
order before her dismissal.
Oliveira said the last minute invoicing was an attempt to have
accounts settled, “once Matter discovered what had happened regarding
Ms. dos Santos, coupled with cash-flow issues that were occurring at
In all, confidential Songangol records reviewed by ICIJ show, the oil
company’s bank executed three payments worth about $58 million to
Mattter Business Solutions on the day after the president announced
her dismissal, Nov. 16.
Three months later, dos Santos’ successor at Sonangol, Carlos
Saturnino, held a five-hour press conference and accused her of
mismanagement. He said her tenure, which lasted less than 18 months,
had been marked by improper business practices — including excessive
compensation, conflict of interest, tax avoidance and an excessive
number of consultants.
Saturnino alleged that dos Santos had approved upward of $135 million
in consulting fees, with most of those fees going to the Dubai
consulting company.
He identified 13 companies that had been paid for consulting services,
including five with ties to dos Santos. Four others were her trusted
advisers: the Lisbon law firm Vieira de Almeida and the global
consulting giants PwC, Boston Consulting and McKinsey & Company.
Saturnino didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment by ICIJ and partners.
Dos Santos said in a recent interview that the payments were for
legitimate services that consultants had already delivered.
She also offered a detailed response in a 10-page letter to Saturnino.
Dos Santos wrote that when she was still head of Sonangol, its board
approved the contract to the Dubai company, Matter Business Solutions.
Matter Business had been responsible for managing consultants for the
Sonangol restructuring, she said, adding that she had no connection to
the firm. Dos Santos said she abstained from voting on the contract
“to ensure no conflict of interest.”
Through her lawyers, Oliveira told ICIJ that dos Santos “has no legal
or management role in Matter whatsoever” and that she is not an owner.
“The fees paid to Matter for their consultancy services were
legitimately occurred and fully recorded in Matter’s audited account,”
the lawyers said. “Any allegations that Matter or Ironsea were
involved in (or set up to facilitate) the embezzlement of funds from
Sonangol is patently false.”
In the weeks and months after the firing, dos Santos proclaimed her
innocence on Twitter and Instagram. She denied ever engaging in
favoritism or receiving improper payments.
“It’s nothing but a circus, a performance,” she said in the interview
with the Lusa news agency.
She dismissed unflattering stories as “fake news,” called billing
allegations unfounded and blamed her predecessor at Sonangol for
“I like to think that I have responsibility for the breadwinners of
many families,” she said. “We worked at Sonangol with a sense of
mission, with a spirit to save the company, and we did it.”
In March 2018, Angolan prosecutors opened a preliminary probe, and a
court issued a summons for dos Santos to appear for questioning in
She didn’t appear. She claims she didn’t receive the request.

Under siege

Dos Santos’ entire business empire was under siege. The arbitration
panel at the International Chamber of Commerce ordered Unitel, which
she co-owned with Sonangol, to pay its Portuguese shareholder, PT
Ventures, more than $650 million for breach of contract.
Her lawyers told ICIJ that the arbitration court found the
controversial loans to her shell company caused “no damage.” The
ruling is confidential.
President Lourenço canceled her public works contracts, including the
Luanda redevelopment plan. Angolan authorities said they uncovered
overpayments and other irregularities such as phony invoices,
noncompetitive bidding and improper subcontracting.
Angola’s state diamond-trading company severed ties to dos Santos, and
her diamond exploration licences were revoked. The head of the state
diamond company, Eugénio Pereira Bravo da Rosa, told ICIJ partners
that its investment in Dokolo’s luxury jewelry business was a
financial disaster.
The company expects losses on the deal to exceed $200 million, Bravo
da Rosa said.
Pressed by ICIJ, Angolan officials last month released more than 400
pages of documents from Sonangol about dos Santos’ business
activities, including emails and financial records and invoices
submitted by Matter Business.
In responses through lawyers, dos Santos questioned the veracity of
documents ICIJ reviewed.
Last year, the day before Christmas, dos Santos said, she got news
from a group on WhatsApp. A court in Angola had frozen her personal
bank accounts, those of her husband and her stakes in some of the
country’s largest companies, including phone provider Unitel.
The government said the couple and Silva, the financial adviser, were
suspected of causing Angola to lose more than $1 billion through
business deals gone awry. According to investigators, Portuguese
police intercepted $11 million that dos Santos tried to transfer to
Dos Santos called the allegations false and vowed a legal fight.
Angolan prosecutors say they are collaborating with authorities in the
U.S., U.K., Switzerland, Brazil, Portugal and Congo. They say the
intricacy of dos Santos’ shell empire is making the job difficult. So
far, they have uncovered 31 companies with links to dos Santos outside
Angola, prosecutors said.
ICIJ found many more. Since 1992, dos Santos and her husband have
created or invested in at least 400 companies and subsidiaries in 41
countries, an ICIJ review found. Ninety four of these companies are
registered in secrecy jurisdictions, including Dubai, Mauritius and
the British Virgin Islands, ICIJ found.

‘It’s Armageddon’

Many companies and executives who did business with dos Santos
declined to say anything about their relationships with her. After
receiving detailed questions from ICIJ and its partner the BBC,
accounting giant PwC said it planned to terminate its relationship
with dos Santos family businesses.
Van Oord said it learned of the 2013 evictions only after questions
from ICIJ partners Trouw and Het Financieele Dagblad. The families
were removed before the company’s involvement in the project. It
promised to “use its leverage” with the Angolan government and
contractors to ensure compensation.
Angolan authorities have identified only Isabel dos Santos, her
husband and Silva as criminal suspects.
In an unrelated case, her brother, José Filomeno dos Santos, is
accused of helping transfer $500 million from Angola’s sovereign
wealth fund to the U.K. The Angolan parliament recently voted to
impeach Isabel dos Santos’ half-sister Welwitschea dos Santos.
In voicemail messages left with an ICIJ reporter, Welwitschea dos
Santos denied any financial link to Isabel or her father. She accused
President Lourenço of getting her kicked out of Parliament, and she
has appealed the decision. “I believe none of the sides are right,”
she said.
José Filomeno de Sousa did not respond to a letter seeking comment,
nor did Isabel dos Santos’ top lieutenant, Silva. Her lawyer, Brito
Pereira, also didn’t respond.
Her husband, Dokolo, denied using offshore entities to improperly
avoid taxation. He blamed the new government for his and his wife’s
Dokolo said through his lawyer the couple had been the victim of a
hacking attack and that ICIJ’s questions may be based on forged
“It’s Armageddon,” Dokolo told Radio France Internationale. “The
regime claims to act in the name of the fight against corruption, but
it does not attack the agents of public companies accused of
embezzlement, just a family operating in the private sector,” he said.
No Western company has been accused of any wrongdoing in the Angolan
government’s investigation. Isabel dos Santos’ father has also not
been named.
The current president, João Lourenço, did not respond to allegations
that he is conducting a “witch hunt” against the dos Santos family.
Lourenço also did not comment on criticisms that his administration
hasn’t done enough to fight corruption.
Isabel dos Santos continues to insist that she made all her money
during her father’s rule solely by “taking risks and hard work.”
President Lourenço’s government, she says, is seeking to undermine
“the legacy of President dos Santos and what he has achieved.”
“There is an orchestrated attack by the current government that is
completely politically motivated,” she said in the BBC interview.
The family says it no longer feels at home in Angola. José Eduardo dos
Santos lives in a heavily guarded, walled compound in an upscale
neighborhood of Barcelona. Isabel has moved back to London, where her
children attend school.
Dos Santos says that she can’t go back because she fears for her
safety and that she remains committed to Angola. In interviews with
British and Portuguese media outlets, she emphasized that her
companies are among the country’s biggest taxpayers and employ
She told Bloomberg News that she worries the asset freeze could doom
her companies.
Until her recent legal struggles, dos Santos often shuttled between
Lisbon and London while attending conferences in New York, Russia and
this month, dos Santos was scheduled to attend a gathering of the
global elite, the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland. Unitel
is a partner.
Last week, the Forum said she would not be attending.

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Zimbabwe's economy shrunk 5.5% in 2019 and will fall by a further 2.5% 2020, UN says @newswireZW

World Bank says economy fell 7.5% in 2019 but may rebound 2.7% in 2020.
IMF: Negative growth of -7.1% in 2019, 2.5% growth in 2020
Govt projected a 6.5% decline in 2019 and 3% growth in 2020

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21-JAN-2019 :: What is clear to me is that Zimbabwe is at a Tipping Point moment.

At the time of the Jasmine Revolution in Tunis the crowds chanted “We
are not afraid, we are not afraid, we are afraid only of God.”

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@GoldmanSachs Gets South African Bank License in Expansion Drive @markets

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. got approval from South African regulators to
operate a bank, as the Wall Street firm seeks to tap into fast-growing
economies on the continent.
The company also became a member of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s
interest-rate and currency-derivatives market, Goldman Sachs said in a
statement Monday.
It will offer fixed-income products, foreign exchange and South
African government securities, to corporate and institutional
Goldman Sachs, which has been present in South Africa for more than 20
years, in December appointed Jonathan Penkin as head of the local
The firm already provides advisory, wealth- and asset-management
services to corporations, investment firms, government institutions
and individuals.
The expansion comes as brokerages including Macquarie Group Ltd.,
Arqaam Capital Ltd., Deutsche Bank AG and Credit Suisse Group AG
either pare back their operations or close down some businesses
because of a moribund South African economy.
Still, the country has the biggest, most liquid and most sophisticated
capital markets on the continent, which is home to six of the world’s
fastest growing economies.

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Uhuru Kenyatta met bicycle guy Boris Johnson and raised concerns that BA flights connecting Nairobi and London were too cold @adrianblomfield

In his speech at UK-Africa summit, Boris said he made representations
on Uhuru's behalf (apparently it is because of all the Kenyan veg in
the hold)

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Government debt has risen to 57% of GDP. This has led the debt servicing to revenue ratio to more than double since 2011 and the ratio is projected to reach 40% in 2019 @IMFNews H/T @RichFrontiers

Government debt has risen to 57% of GDP. This has led the debt
servicing to revenue ratio to more than double since 2011 and the
ratio is projected to reach 40% in 2019, a level typically only
associated with countries at high risk of debt distress

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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January 2020

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