Angolan business mogul jailed 9 years for fraud
LUANDA - An Angolan businessman with ties to the country's former political elite has been sentenced to nine years in prison over a $900-million (817-million-euro) graft scandal, local public media reported Friday.
Carlos Manuel de Sao Vicente, who was convicted of embezzlement, money laundering and tax fraud, was also slapped with $4.5-million fine, according to state radio.
This is one of the heaviest punishments meted out for corruption in the oil-rich southern African nation.
President Joao Lourenco has launched an anti-corruption drive to recoup assets he suspected were embezzled under his predecessor, Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
De Sao Vicente was accused of fraudulently obtaining shares in the AAA Seguros insurance company, and of illegally benefitting from insurance schemes in the oil industry during Dos Santos's nearly four-decade rule.
He was a director of AAA Seguros, in which the Angolan state oil company Sonangol was initially the sole shareholder.
AAA Seguros sold insurance to Sonangol during the years of Angola's oil boom.
De Sao Vicente, who maintains his innocence, has been detained since September 2020 at the notorious Viana prison in the capital, Luanda.
He is married to Irene Neto, a former deputy minister and daughter of Angola's first president, Agostinho Neto.
The case has also sparked legal action in Switzerland, where De Sao Vicente is accused of parking the $900 million at the Geneva-based Banque SYZ.
Swiss prosecutors froze that sum in his accounts in 2018 on suspicion of money laundering, one of the largest personal asset freezes in Swiss history.
A Swiss court last year reversed part of that freeze, citing insufficient evidence.
In total more than $1 billion linked to the Angolan businessman and his business group have come under investigation in Switzerland, beyond any other assets in Angola.
At home, Angolan authorities have seized buildings and hotels owned by his AAA Seguros insurance company. - AFP