Angola's Isabel dos Santos says victim of 'political persecution'

Angola Dos Santos, pictured at a screening at the Cannes Film Festival this May.  By LOIC VENANCE AFPFile
NOV 30, 2022 LISTEN
Dos Santos, pictured at a screening at the Cannes Film Festival this May. By LOIC VENANCE (AFP/File)

Angolan tycoon Isabel dos Santos says she is the victim of "political persecution" engineered by President Joao Lourenco, her father's successor at the helm of the oil-rich southern African country.

Angolan public prosecutor Helder Pitta Gros told reporters on Monday that Angola had filed an international arrest warrant for dos Santos.

A draft of the document, released by the Portuguese media, accuses her of fraud.

"There is no doubt that we are in a context of political persecution," dos Santos, 49, said in an interview broadcast late Tuesday on TVI/CNN Portugal.

"The prosecutor gets his orders directly from the president."

Dos Santos' father, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, handed over power to Lourenco in 2017 after a 38-year reign marked by a reputation for corruption and nepotism.

He died this July. The following month, Lourenco, 68, was elected to a second five-year term.

Portugal's Jornal de Negocios published a draft of the arrest warrant, which said Isabel dos Santos was being sought for fraud against the government, money laundering and criminal association.

In the TV interview, dos Santos said that she was not aware of an "official document."

According to the leaked arrest warrant, dos Santos allegedly siphoned off money from Angola's state-run oil company Sonangol, which she had run before her father handed over power.

The document identifies her main countries of residence as the United Arab Emirates, Portugal or Britain, Portuguese media said.