Tue, 29 Sep 2020

Angola's Supreme Court on Friday handed a five-year jail sentence to Jose Filomeno dos Santos, the son of the oil-rich country's former president, for fraud when he headed the national sovereign wealth fund.

Dos Santos, 42, was summoned before 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.

Nicknamed "Zenu", dos Santos was charged with stealing $500 million from the fund and transferring it to a Swiss bank account.

"For the crime of fraud... and for the crime of peddling influence... the legal cumulus condemns him to a single sentence of five years in prison," judge Joao da Cruz Pitra said.

Three co-defendants, including the former governor of the national bank of Angola (BNA) Valter Filipe da Silva, were sentenced to between four and six years in prison for fraud, embezzlement and influence peddling.

All four were acquitted of money laundering charges. They have previously denied any wrongdoing.

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

His predecessor Jose Eduardo dos Santos led Angola for 38 years, leaving a legacy of poverty and nepotism in a country still recovering from a 1975-2002 civil war.

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