Isabel dos Santos
Isabel dos Santos
Isabel dos Santos in 2019
Isabel dos Santos
20 April 1973
|Alma mater||King's College London|
|Net worth||US$2.1 billion (October 2019)|
Isabel dos Santos (born 20 April 1973) is an Angolan businesswoman, Africa's richest woman and the eldest child of Angola's former President José Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled the country from 1979 to 2017. In 2013, according to Forbes, her net worth had exceeded US$2 billion making her Africa's first female US dollar billionaire. Forbes described how dos Santos acquired her wealth by taking stakes in companies doing business in Angola, suggesting that her wealth comes almost entirely from her family's power and connections. In November 2015, the BBC named dos Santos as one of the 100 most influential women in the world.
The Angolan Government has, since 2018, been trying to prosecute Isabel dos Santos for past corruption crimes that may have led to Angola's ongoing recession crisis. However, she remains in exile in Portugal. On 30 December 2019, the Luanda Provincial Court ordered the freezing of dos Santos's Angolan bank accounts and the seizure of her stake in local companies, including Unitel and Banco de Fomento Angola. In the meantime, she is under investigation in Portugal and has since assumed the United Arab Emirates as her official country of residence. Two weeks later, the Angolan Government announced it was preparing the legal battle for the confiscation of dos Santos's assets in Portugal, a process that is already in operation in the form of letters rogatory sent to Portugal to stop the transfer of funds from Portuguese Commercial Bank to a Russian bank.[which?]
Family and education
Isabel dos Santos was born in Baku, Azerbaijan SSR, the oldest daughter of Angola's former President José Eduardo dos Santos and his first wife, the Russian-born Tatiana Kukanova, whom he met while studying in the then Soviet republic of Azerbaijan. Her father's parents came from São Tomé and Príncipe. She attended the all girls boarding school in Kent, Cobham Hall School. She studied electrical engineering at King's College in London. There she met her husband from Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo), Sindika Dokolo, a son of a millionaire from Kinshasa and his Danish wife.
In the past 20 years dos Santos has held management positions in a number of companies listed on European stock exchanges. Dos Santos returned from London in the early 1990s to join her father in Luanda and started working as a project manager engineer for Urbana 2000, a subsidiary of Jembas Group, that had won a contract to clean and disinfect the city. Following that, she set up a trucking business. The widespread use of walkie-talkie technology paved the way for her subsequent foray into telecoms. In 1997, she started her first business, opening the Miami Beach Club, one of the first night clubs and beach restaurants on the Luanda Island. Over nearly 20 years she expanded her business interests, leading to the creation of several holdings, in Angola and mostly abroad, making substantial investments in high-profile entreprises, especially in Portugal. In June 2016, she was appointed by her father as chairwoman of Sonangol, the Angolan state oil company. The controversial appointment in the wake of similar appointments of children of the president to key posts was short-lived, as João Lourenço, the new Angolan President, fired her merely two months after being sworn into office.
On 30 December 2019, the Luanda Provincial Court ordered the preventive seizure of personal bank accounts of dos Santos, her husband, Sindika Dokolo, and Mário Filipe Moreira Leite da Silva. According to the Attorney General's Office, the three businesspeople entered into deals with the Angolan state through the companies Sodiam, a public diamond sales company, and Sonangol, the state oil company. With these deals, the Angolan state suffered a loss of $1.14 billion. The court produced a document showing that the assets and many others owned by dos Santos had been acquired using funds from two state-owned companies In the meantime, the Portuguese Attorney-General's Office has revealed that an investigation has been opened into a number of operations by Isabel dos Santos, following a charge laid by Ana Gomes, a Portuguese Member of the European Parliament. Following the seizure, she has assumed the UAE as her official country of residence.
Investments in Portugal
Since 2008 she has had interests in telecommunications, media, retail, finance and the energy industry, both in Angola and in Portugal. In addition to her commercial interest in oil and diamonds, dos Santos also owns shares in the Angola cement company Nova Cimangola. Jadeium, a company held by dos Santos, acquired 4.918% of ZON Multimedia shares from Spain's Telefonica.
Through the Netherlands-based Unitel International Holdings BV, a company controlled by dos Santos, the Angolan businesswoman is the main shareholder of ZON Multimédia with 29% since July 2012. She is member of the board of Angolan bank in Lisbon, Banco BIC Português, and through Santoro Holding she holds 20% stakes at Banco Português de Investimento. She has other major stakes with the Angolan state oil company Sonangol through their mutual European Law holding, based in the Netherlands, named Esperanza Holding, in Portuguese Galp Energia. Dos Santos is a founding member and Board member of Banco BIC Português, which recently acquired Banco Português de Negócios, a nationalized bank.
Since November 2012 dos Santos is a non-executive board member of ZON. In December 2012, dos Santos announced the invitation for a merger of ZON with Sonaecom, proved in March 2013 by the General Assembly. Eight months later, after the green light from the Competition Authority, the merger of the two companies was formalized on 27 August 2013, with the transfer to ZOPT, a special purpose vehicle created to advance the operation which became the owner of more 50% of the capital of the new group, the shares that dos Santos and Sonaecom hold on Zon and Optimus respectively. There was a capital increase of ZOPT through contribution in kind from 50 to 716 million euros, while Sonaecom subscribed 358 million shares of the company, by delivering 81.8% of its stake in Optimus. The Angolan businesswoman, on her turn, subscribed exactly the same number of shares of ZOPT, through her holdings Kento and Unitel International, delivering 28.8% of the stake in ZON. With this transfer of shareholdings in Optimus and Zon, Sonaecom and dos Santos became holders of over 50% stake in the merged company: Zon Optimus SGPS. On this occasion, a new strategy for the company was announced by dos Santos, with a multimarket vision. On 1 October 2013, Isabel dos Santos attended the first General Assembly of Zon Optimus. Isabel dos Santos' investments in Portugal are in listed companies, which are therefore subject to official supervision of the Portuguese Securities Market Commission (CMVM).
In November 2014, dos Santos launched a takeover bid for Portugal Telecom, SGPS, S.A., valuing the firm's shares at €1.35 a share, in what was seen as a rival bid to a previous €7 billion offer from Altice. Though the offer made by Altice is on PT Portugal, not on PT SGPS. On 1 December 2014, the Angolan businesswoman formally registered her offer at the Portuguese Securities Market Commission (Comissão do Mercado de Valores Mobiliários, CMVM, in Portuguese).
In January 2017 Unitel, led by dos Santos, officialized the purchase of 2% of Banco Fomento de Angola (BFA) from BPI for 28 million euros and now controls 51.9% of the bank's capital. The operation was approved by sector regulators, namely the National Bank of Angola (BNA) in December 2016. In February 2017 dos Santos decides to sell her position in Banco BPI, following the takeover bid launched by CaixaBank. Dos Santos arrived in 2009, stepped out[clarification needed] in 2017 and won more than 80 million euros: Santos' capital gain comes not only from the sale of the 18.5% holding on BPI, but also from the dividends from 2008 and 2009, worth around 12.6 million euros.
Investments in Angola
With 51% control of Condis, dos Santos signed a joint partnership with the Portuguese Sonae group in April 2011 for the development and operation of a retail trading company in Angola. The entry in Angola by the Portuguese group led by Paulo de Azevedo will be performed by the Continente (Angola), which plans to open the first supermarket by 2013 in Angola.
Focus on telecommunications
She created Unitel in partnership with Portugal Telecom, after a tender process she considered fair. Also through Unitel International Holding, a platform for Unitel investments where Portugal Telecom has no presence, she acquired the mobile operator T+, in Cape Verde and gained the license for the establishment of the second telecom operator in São Tomé and Príncipe. Under this investment dos Santos announced during a visit to São Tomé and Príncipe that Unitel will invest in education in the country to train engineers, managers and other technicians and also focus on job creation.
By 2015, dos Santos owned a share of satellite-TV operator ZAP, that had in December 2013 acquired the rights to distribute Forbes in a number of Portuguese speaking countries, namely Portugal, Angola and Mozambique. It had been announced that most of the content would be produced by a local team, complemented by content for the North American edition, therefore potentially allowing influence on Forbes content. It was initially planned that the first edition of the Portuguese language Forbes would be published during the second quarter of 2014. 
- Trans Africa Investment Services, a Gibraltar based vehicle founded together with her mother for the diamond business
- Unitel International Holdings B.V.: change of name of Kento and Jadeium, based in Amsterdam, company-vehicle for dos Santos' investment in telecommunications
- Santoro Finance: company-vehicle for dos Santos' investment in Banco BPI based in Lisbon
- Esperaza Holding B.V.: based in Amsterdam, energy, oil etc.
- Condis: a retail business based in Luanda
On 19 January 2020 the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published a detailed report on how dos Santos amassed her wealth over the years. The report – which it called Luanda Leaks – provides evidence of how she "made a fortune at the expense of the Angolan people".
The night of 22 January, just days after the leaks, her personal wealth manager and private banking director Nuno Ribeiro da Cunha was found dead in the garage of his house.
- Fernandes, Filipe S. "Isabel dos Santos - Segredos e poder do dinheiro" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 June 2016.
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- "Forbes profile: Isabel dos Santos". Forbes. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- Burgis, Tom (29 March 2013). "Lunch with the FT: Isabel dos Santos". Financial Times. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
- "Portugal dominated Angola for centuries. Now the roles are reversed". The Irish Times.
- Forbes: Africa’s Richest Women 2 May 2011
- Dolan, Kerry A. (14 August 2013). "Daddy's Girl: How An African 'Princess' Banked $3 Billion in a Country Living On $2 Per Day". Forbes. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
- "Isabel dos Santos desmente acusações de enriquecimento ilícito feitas pela Forbes". Económico.
- BBC 100 Women 2015: Who is on the list? BBC, 17 November 2015
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- "Angola orders Isabel dos Santos asset seizure". BBC. 31 December 2019.
- Simões, Lígia (10 January 2020). "Exclusivo. DCIAP investiga operações de Isabel dos Santos denunciadas por Ana Gomes" (in Portuguese). Jornal Económico. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
- "Angola: Cidadã russa Isabel dos Santos imune à extradição?" (in Portuguese). DeutscheWelle. 9 January 2020. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
- "Portugal: la justice ouvre une enquête sur Isabel dos Santos" (in French). 11 January 2020. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
- "Governo angolano prepara confisco de bens de Isabel dos Santos em Portugal" (in Portuguese). Angola24horas. 11 January 2020. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
- Norinha, Vítor (3 January 2020). "De bestial a persona non-grata" (in Portuguese). Jornal Económico. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
- ISABEL DOS SANTOS - SEGREDOS E PODER DO DINHEIRO Archived 15 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Filipe S. Fernandes. Documentation (Portuguese)
- The Guardian: "Isabel dos Santos, dubbed 'princess', named Africa's first female billionaire" by David Smith 25 January 2013
- Mail & Guardian (Zambia): "Angola: Who's who in the palace?" by Louise Redvers 2 November 2012
- The Australian: "Angolan Africa's first woman billionaire" 25 January 2013
- Biography at MPLA website Archived 22 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine (in Portuguese)
- Mail & Guardian: "Angola: Who's who in the palace?" by Louise Redvers 2 November 2012
- Celso Filipe, Report about Isabel dos Santos on Negócios Online, December 2008
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- "La Famille Dokolo : Ndona Tuluka - Nzolantima - Hanne - Manzanza - Sindika - Luzolo".
- "Augustin Dokolo, an African entrepreneur". Retrieved 14 March 2013.
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- "Meet The Forbes Second Richest African Woman: Isabel dos Santos". The African Economist. 4 December 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
- "Isabel dos Santos reforça em Portugal com entrada na Zon Diário Económico, 21 December 2009 (pt)". Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
- Isabel dos Santos é a 18ª figura mais poderosa da economia portuguesa Jornal de Negócios, 4 August 2011 (pt)
- "All in the family: Angola president picks eldest daughter to head state oil firm, western firms scramble for contracts". MG Africa. 3 June 2016. Archived from the original on 16 February 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
- See e.g. Novo Jornal / Luanda, 10 March 2017
- by Reuters
- "Tribunal decreta arresto preventivo a contas e empresas de Isabel dos Santos". sabado.pt.
- "Bloomberg Are you a robot?". Bloomberg L.P.
- "Qualified Shareholding" (PDF). CMVM. 8 May 2012.
- "Qualified Shareholding" (PDF). CMVM. 9 May 2012.
- "ANNOUNCEMENT" (PDF). CMVM Official website. 14 December 2012.
- Angola: Isabel dos Santos reinforces her presence in Portuguese firms Portugaldailyview.com, 9 May 2012
- Millennium investment banking: Kento qualified holding comment 14 March 2011 (page 1)
- "NYSE Euronext Company profile". Archived from the original on 10 July 2011.
- Zon's shareholders unanimously approved the entry of Isabel dos Santos (pt)
- "BIC board members". Archived from the original on 21 May 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
- Shareholders structure BPI 24 June 2011 (pt)
- Bloomberg: Isabel dos Santos wants to raise stake at BPI, 22 December 2010
- "Report on Voice of America (pt)". Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
- "Banco BIC Português Official website". Archived from the original on 16 December 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
- Isabel dos Santos integra administração da Zon by LUSA Press agency ionline.pt. Retrieved 7 July 2018 (portugueses)
- "Qualified Shareholding" (PDF). CMVM.
- "Announcement" (PDF). CMVM. 28 August 2013.
- "Manager Transactions" (PDF). CMVM.
- "Announcement" (PDF). CMVM.
- "Optimus, Zon merger brings potential for expansion - Dos Santos". Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- "Isabel dos Santos The strategy of the new company will be open to new geographies". Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- Isabel dos Santos comparece na AG da Zon Optimus sabado.pt. Retrieved 7 July 2018 (portuguese)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 March 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CMVM
- NOS shareholder bids for Portugal Telecom shares Reuters, 9 November 2014
- Dos Santos launches bid for Portugal Telecom SGPS Reuters, 1 December 2014
- BFA Announces Board Changes Bloomberg, January 2017
- Isabel dos Santos steps out of BPI with 80 million ECO News, 14 February 2017
- Portuguese group Sonae authorised to open hypermarkets in Angola Aicep Portugal Global. Retrieved 27 December 2011
- "Unitel Internacional assina contrato para ser segunda operadora em São Tomé e Príncipe". ANGOP.
- "Unitel takes over control of T+ in Cape Verde".
- "Africa Telecom & IT – Unitel to become second operator in Sao Tome & Principe".
- "Unitel STP to start operating in Sao Tome and Principe this year". Macauhub English. 30 May 2013.
- PÚBLICO. "Forbes chega este ano a Portugal e África, pela mão de Isabel dos Santos". PÚBLICO.
- Os negócios de Isabel dos Santos em Portugal Archived 22 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
- A Angolana mais rica de Portugal, English: The most rich Angolan in Portugal clipquick.com, 1 August 2012 (pt)
- Isabel dos Santos made a fortune at the expense of the Angolan people, Luanda Leaks reveals. icij.org, published 19 January 2020
- "Luanda Leaks | Aparece muerto en Portugal el gestor financiero de Isabel dos Santos". El Confidencial (in Spanish). 23 January 2020. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
Media related to Isabel dos Santos at Wikimedia Commons