PPLAAF and ICIJ behind the #LuandaLeaks that show how the Dos Santos family accumulated its wealth
(Paris, 19 January 2020) – New disclosures reveal the inside story of how hundreds of millions of dollars were channeled through an important galaxy of companies and subsidiaries for the benefit of Isabel Dos Santos and her family, said the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) today. The information, known as “Luanda Leaks”, comes from data obtained by PPLAAF and shared with its historical partner, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
ICIJ and more than 120 reporters from 36 media organizations in 20 countries have worked on the “Luanda Leaks”, publishing key information about the fortune of Isabel Dos Santos, the daughter of former Angolan president José Eduardo Dos Santos, and her husband, Sindika Dokolo. The records and articles also show how a plethora of financial firms, lawyers, accountants and government officials worldwide have stepped up to enable the schemes.
PPLAAF hopes that the Luanda Leaks will lead to the launching of investigations worldwide and thus promote the fight against impunity for financial crimes.
“Once again, it appears that the lucrative appetite of certain dignitaries comes well before the public interest ”, said William Bourdon, Chairman of PPLAAF. “And once again, this alleged plundering of government funds would not have been possible without professional enablers, from audit and consultancy firms to prominent lawyers.”
Despite extensive natural resources and a fast-growing economy, Angola remains one of the poorest countries on earth, with high inequality rates and widespread corruption.
On 30 December 2019, the Angolan judiciary announced the freezing of assets, bank accounts and holdings in several companies in Angola of Isabel Dos Santos. On 10 January 2020, the Portuguese judicial authorities announced that they had opened an investigation against Isabel Dos Santos for money laundering.
Jose Eduardo Dos Santos was President of Angola from 1979 to 2017. During his presidency, corruption was endemic, and he was regularly accused of enriching his family, including through nepotism. His daughter was appointed president of Sonangol, the Angolan oil company, and his son president of the Angolan sovereign wealth fund.
The documents come from several companies and were provided to PPLAAF by a whistleblower who wanted to expose activities that are illegal or contrary to public interest. The disclosure of the documents was not politically motivated.
PPLAAF is a non-governmental organization established in 2017 to defend whistleblowers, as well as to advocate and engage in strategic litigation on their behalf when their revelations deal with the general interest of African citizens. PPLAAF offers a full spectrum of solutions to address the different needs of whistleblowers: protected communication, free legal support in the form of advice or legal representation, ongoing assistance to protect the whistleblower in disclosing information to the public, development of legislation protecting whistleblowers, etc.
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