Growing global scrutiny is focused on Isabel de Santos, the wealthiest woman in Africa, who is accused of using her position to extract hundreds of millions—if not billions—of dollars in wealth for personal gain.
Dos Santos, daughter of Angola’s autocratic leader from 1979 until 2017, allegedly used her public role as head of Sonangol, Angola’s state oil company, and other state enterprises, to enrich herself and family members. Dos Santos denies any wrong-doing.
Thanks to the Luanda Leaks, a disclosure by a Portuguese whistleblower of 715,000 pages of documents, scrutiny has fallen on the unseemly mechanisms that wealthy elites around the world steal and hide wealth. You can read more background on the story here.
Angola is a country of diamonds, oil and extreme inequality. The plundering of its wealth has a long colonial legacy. The mass hiding of wealth through shell companies is an updated form of colonial kleptocracy.