A BANKER associated with Isabel dos Santos has been found dead in Portugal just hours after Angola’s attorney general provisionally charged the pair – and three other people – with money laundering and other offences.
Nuno Ribeiro da Cunha, 45, was found dead at one of his properties in Lisbon, with a police source telling Portuguese media that ‘everything points to suicide.’
Da Cunha reportedly managed the account of Sonangol, formerly chaired by Dos Santos, at Portuguese bank EuroBic.
EuroBic said on Wednesday it would end its business relationship with Dos Santos – who has always denied any wrong doing – the bank’s main shareholder, but who is reported to be wanting to sell her stake.
The bank said it will investigate transfers worth tens of millions of dollars made by Dos Santos.
Angola’s government wants to recover $1bn from Dos Santos and her associates and to this end, late on Wednesday, Attorney General Helder Pitta Gros said she was being provisionally charged with ‘money laundering, influence peddling, harmful management… [and] forgery of documents, among other economic crimes.’
He told reporters that the daughter of Angola’s former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, ‘is accused of mismanagement and embezzlement of funds during her tenure at Sonangol.’
A criminal investigation will now be carried out to determine if Dos Santos should be formally charged.
Angola’s authorities also named four other people as suspects in the case, one of whom was Da Cunha.
Angolan newspaper Jornal de Angola reported the other people of interest as being Sarju Raikundalia, Mario Filipe Leite da Silva and Paula Cristina Fidalgo Oliveira.
Pitta Gros said that if Dos Santos did not return to Angola voluntarily, an international arrest warrant would be issued.
Her assets in Angola have been frozen amid suggestions that her global assets may also be frozen in future.
‘If we have evidence that her investments were made with illicit money from Angola, we will have to do everything so that Dos Santos is not able to dispose of the assets.’ Said Pitta Gros.
The attorney general’s move came days after the business dealings of Dos Santos were unveiled in detail through 715,000 documents leaked by a whistleblower.
Meanwhile, Isabel’s brother, Jose Filomeno dos Santos, is currently on trial in Angola accused of money laundering and embezzlement.
He is alleged to have helped to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars out of Angola when he headed the country’s Sovereign Wealth Fund between 2013 and 2018.