Dos Santos accuses state of using fake evidence, Bruce Lee signature to freeze assets

12 May 2020 - 16:34 By ERNEST MABUZA
Angola's billionaire former first daughter Isabel dos Santos has been charged with money laundering and mismanagement during her stewardship of a state-owned oil firm, Sonangol. On Tuesday, she accused the state of using false evidence to freeze her assets.
Angola's billionaire former first daughter Isabel dos Santos has been charged with money laundering and mismanagement during her stewardship of a state-owned oil firm, Sonangol. On Tuesday, she accused the state of using false evidence to freeze her assets.
Image: MIGUEL RIOPA / AFP

Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos is appealing against court orders in Angola and Portugal which led to her assets being frozen, and claims the state used false evidence to obtain the freezing orders.

Since 2018 the Angolan government has been trying to prosecute Dos Santos, daughter of former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, for corruption.

She is accused of embezzling $1-billion from a state-owned oil firm, Sonangol.

Dos Santos said in a statement on Tuesday that a copy of a fake passport was used to fabricate evidence in the Angolan courts during proceedings leading to the freezing of her assets and companies. 

She said the passport had multiple errors, including being signed by "Bruce Lee" as the issuing authority.

Dos Santos claimed the Angolan prosecution also relied on emails regarding a scam investment in Japan.

She said the emails and fake passport were used before chambers by the Angolan prosecutor - without her or her lawyers present to contest the allegations - as supporting evidence that she was trying to dissipate her assets quickly and then illegally invest the proceeds outside Angola.

She maintained the prosecutor obtained freezing orders from the Luanda Civil Court and a magistrate of the Supreme Court  based on this fraudulent procedure.

Dos Santos said those judgments were automatically enforced in Portugal without review by the Portuguese judiciary.

Lawyers for Dos Santos were given access to the court’s files at the end of April.

They found the copy of the falsified passport and emails regarding a scam investment in Japan.

She said the forgery of the passport was obvious at first glance.

Apart from the Bruce Lee signature, it had an incorrect date of birth, there were two different passport numbers, and English was used to describe her occupation. English is not an official language in Angola.

Dos Santos said what was ridiculous was the fact that the passport's issuing authority used a Bruce Lee signature.

She said without the passport and resulting false allegations made by the Angolan prosecution, it would have been impossible for her assets and companies to have been frozen.

'“Looking at the forged evidence it is now clear the Angolan state, through the intelligence services, prosecution, Civil Court, and Supreme Court, has colluded and contrived a case to obtain an unfair and illegal decision against me.

"False documents and false statements have been deliberately brought before the court," Dos Santos said.

She said the resulting freezing orders were now threatening the livelihoods of many thousands of hard-working employees in Angola and Portugal.

"A principle of universal law requires that those who seek justice act with integrity and honesty, and that the rights of the defence be guaranteed.

“In Portugal, will the justice system take note of these revelations and proceed with the release of those assets seized illegally?" she asked.

Dos Santos asked whether the objective of the Angolan authorities was to obtain an emergency freezing order - at all costs - to prevent her from ensuring her own defence and causing the bankruptcy of the companies in which she invested and managed.



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