Angola sentences ex-president’s billionaire son to five years in prison for fraud

Son of former Angolan president who ruled the country for 38 years, has been sentenced on Friday by Angola’s Supreme Court in Luanda for a multi-billion dollar embezzlement scheme. Jose Filomeno dos Santos Commonly, know as “Zenu,” was charged in December after trying to transfer $1.5 billion into a private bank account in Swiss from the sovereign wealth fund; he managed from 2013 to 2018.

Billionaire Zenu was charged with three of his co-defendants, including Valter Filipe da Silva, the former governor of B.N.A., Angola’s national bank. Mr. Silva received sentences of four and six years for similar fraud crimes, embezzlement and influence peddling.

Zenu is the first person in the presidential family to be prosecuted as a section of an anti-graft campaign led by the current President João Lourenço, who took power in 2017 from his dad.

According to reports, a second person in the family might soon be next, as in February of this year, Angolan investigators froze assets of Zenu’s half-sister, who is allegedly the richest woman in African. Isabel dos Santos is currently being investigated for a long list of crimes, namely mismanagement of funds, money laundering and embezzlement during her stewardship of the state-run oil giant Sonangol. Accusations, she vehemently denied calling it a “witch-hunt.”

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President Lourenco appeared to target family members of his predecessor Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who’s known for nepotism, appointing his family members into key positions during his rule. Only a few elites have profited from the nation’s vast oil and mineral reserves.

The southwest African country is still recovering from a 1975-2002 civil war.

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