Angola to Charge Ex-President's Son in $500 Million Transfer

(Bloomberg) -- Angola’s state prosecutor plans to charge the son of former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos with fraud for allegedly transferring $500 million from the country’s central bank to the London branch of a Swiss bank, MFM Radio reported.

Jose Filomeno dos Santos, the former head of Angola’s sovereign wealth fund, had his passport seized and has been forbidden from leaving the country, the Luanda-based broadcaster reported, citing Luis Benza Zanga, the deputy state prosecutor and head of the National Directorate for Criminal Investigation.

The move highlights President Joao Lourenco’s determination to deliver on his pledge to fight widespread corruption since taking the helm of Africa’s second-biggest oil producer in September from Dos Santos, who ruled for 38 years and remains the leader of the ruling party. Angola ranks among the world’s 20 most-corrupt countries in the world, according to Berlin-based Transparency International.

Three calls to Djembe Communications, a Dos Santos public relations company, went unanswered. Angola’s prosecutors’ office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Dos Santos will be charged with money laundering in the case that draws in nine other people, MFM Radio said. Angolan prosecutors have also named former central bank governor, Valter Filipe da Silva, as a suspect in relation to the alleged $500-million transfer from the central bank, according to the broadcaster. Dos Santos’ daughter, Isabel dos Santos, was fired as chairwoman of state-owned oil firm Sonangol in November.

“I think over the past couple of months the new president has demonstrated both the willingness and ability to clean up the political environment in Angola, ridding it of nepotism and corruption,” Gary van Staden, an analyst at NKC African Economics in Paarl, South Africa, said by phone. “He’s sending a message to say that if I can go after the dos Santos family and friends I can go after anyone.”

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