The US sanctioned Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos on Wednesday for her involvement in vital corruption, marking the primary public US response to years of accusations of wrongdoing. Dos Santos’ enterprise empire was the topic of Luanda Leaks, a world exposé revealed by the Worldwide Consortium of Investigative Journalists in 2020.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken cited dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former longtime autocratic president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, “for her involvement in vital corruption by misappropriating public funds for her private profit,” in line with a press launch, ICIJ stories.
Underneath the designation, which was launched on Worldwide Anti-Corruption Day, dos Santos and her instant household are actually barred from getting into the US.
“These sanctions will give hope to many Angolans and preempt Angolan officers from utilizing public funds for their very own profit whereas many nonetheless stay in excessive poverty, with out entry to wash water, schooling and healthcare providers,” stated Florindo Chivucute, government director of Washington D.C. primarily based nonprofit, Mates of Angola, which has advocated for US measures towards the billionaire.
Dos Santos ran Angola’s state-owned oil firm from 2016 to 2017. She has beforehand denied wrongdoing, labeling accusations towards her a “witch hunt.
The State Division’s announcement comes virtually two years after ICIJ and a staff of 120 journalists from 36 international locations revealed how twenty years of corrupt offers helped flip dos Santos into Africa’s wealthiest lady whereas leaving Angola one of many world’s poorest international locations.
The Luanda Leaks investigation was primarily based on greater than 715,000 paperwork that present a window into the internal workings of dos Santos’ enterprise empire. The Platform to Shield Whistleblowers in Africa, a company primarily based in Paris, France, obtained the information and shared them with ICIJ.
After the investigation, authorities in Angola, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal introduced a collection of lawsuits and investigations into dos Santos and her corporations, and lots of of her enterprise ventures have been largely dismantled.
Dos Santos’ enterprise dealings additionally featured in ICIJ’s FinCEN Recordsdata and Pandora Papers investigations. She is believed to at the moment be dwelling within the United Arab Emirates.
Underneath at present’s announcement, the State Division additionally imposed visa and entry bans on officers from Ukraine, Guatemala, El Salvador, Liberia, Nicaragua, Colombia and two different high-profile Angolans.