Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos, targeted by the justice of her country, says she is the victim of “political persecution” led by President Joao Lourenço.
She said this in an interview on Portuguese television Tuesday (November 29) evening.
“There is no doubt that we are in a context of political persecution,” said the daughter of former Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos, who died in July after 38 years of authoritarian rule marred by nepotism on this former Portuguese colony in hydrocarbon-rich southern Africa.
“The Attorney General of the Republic receives his orders directly from the President,” she added in front of the TVI / CNN Portugal channel cameras.
The head of the Angolan prosecutor’s office, Helder Pitta Gros, confirmed to the media in his country on Monday that he had asked Interpol to issue an arrest warrant for Isabel dos Santos.
In her interview with CNN Portugal, the 49-year-old businesswoman claims not to be aware of the “official document”.
But, according to a draft version of an international arrest warrant published by Portuguese media, Isabel dos Santos is wanted by Angolan authorities for fraud against the state, money laundering, and criminal association.
According to this document, she is suspected of having siphoned off funds from Angola’s national oil company, Sonangol, which she headed before Joao Lourenço succeeded her father as head of Angola.
While Angolan authorities say they do not know where Isabel dos Santos is, the Interpol warrant says she is likely to be staying in the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and Portugal.
Targeted by the “Luanda Leaks” investigation published in 2020 by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on the dubious origins of her fortune, Isabel dos Santos is also on the radar of justice in other countries than her own., including Portugal.
“Portugal is trying to understand whether the allegations published by the press are true or false”, she acknowledged in her interview, while affirming that the “Luanda Leaks” were a fabrication “of the Angolan State, of the President Joao Lourenço in particular”.