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Oil Firm’s Banker Found Dead As Ex Sonangol Head Is Charged With Fraud

The manager of the account of Angola’s state oil firm Sonangol at a Portuguese bank was found dead in Lisbon on Wednesday, just before he was named as a suspect in an embezzlement case against the former head of Sonangol, Isabel dos Santos, daughter of the former Angolan president and believed to be Africa’s richest woman.

The bank manager, Nuno Ribeiro da Cunha, 45, was found on Wednesday at one of his homes in Lisbon, Portuguese media reported on Thursday, quoting sources at the police.

According to one of those sources, “everything points to suicide.”

Cunha reportedly attempted suicide earlier this month and was suffering from depression, the BBC reports, quoting Portuguese media.

Cunha was the head of private banking at small Portuguese bank EuroBic, in which Isabel dos Santos is believed to have been the main shareholder.

Earlier this month, the BBC, the Guardian, Portugal’s Expresso newspaper and 34 other media organizations revealed an investigation that showed that dos Santos, as head of state oil firm Sonangol, “ripped off Angola.”

Isabel dos Santos was made head of Sonangol in 2016 by her father, the former president of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos, who had been president for nearly 40 years before stepping down in 2017. Back then, the new president, Joao Lourenço, sacked Isabel dos Santos from her post at Sonangol.

Angola’s authorities then started to investigate Isabel dos Santos, who currently lives in the UK, owns expensive properties in central London, and is said to have a fortune of around US$2.1 billion.

Prosecutors charged her on Wednesday with money laundering and embezzlement while she was chair of the state oil firm Sonangol.

“Isabel dos Santos is accused of mismanagement and embezzlement of funds during her tenure at Sonangol,” Angola’s Attorney General Helder Pitta Gros said on Wednesday, as carried by the BBC.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Brent Jatko on January 27 2020 said:
    4 decades (or 40 years), not 40 decades, which is 400 years.

    José Eduardo dos Santos ruling for 400 years would certainly have been newsworthy!

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