The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) said that Interpol had issued a warrant for the arrest of Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former authoritarian president José Eduardo dos Santos. She and her network have been investigated by the 2020 Luanda Leaks investigation, which showed that over two decades of corrupt deals, Isabel dos Santos became Africa’s wealthiest woman.
The Angolan government has, since 2018, been trying to prosecute Isabel dos Santos for corruption. In December 2021, the US State Department barred Dos Santos and her immediate family from entering the United States, citing “significant corruption by misappropriating public funds for her personal benefit.“
The Luanda Leaks exposé revealed how Isabel dos Santos and her allies benefited from lucrative deals in oil, diamonds, telecommunications, banking, and real estate. She was the then-head of Angola’s state oil company, Sonangol.
According to Portugal’s Lusa news agency, Interpol issued the warrant following a request from Angolan prosecutors. Polícia Judiciária sources in Lisbon, Portugal, said the Interpol warrant alleges dos Santos created corrupt financial mechanisms between 2015 and 2017. Allegedly, dos Santos is often in Portugal, the UK, and the United Arab Emirates.
The mechanisms, it alleges, were created “with the intention of obtaining illicit financial gains and whitewashing suspicious criminal operations.”
The sources said the warrant further alleges that dos Santos acted upon information she had obtained as then-head of Angola’s state oil company, Sonangol. Lusa said dos Santos, 49, was wanted for alleged embezzlement, fraud, influence peddling, and money laundering.
Interpol declined to comment when asked to confirm that it had made an international request for dos Santos’s arrest on receipt of a “Red Notice” from Angola, saying it did not comment on specific cases except in special circumstances.
Lawyers representing Isabel dos Santos say they are not aware of any arrest warrant issued against her by Interpol.