JOHANNESBURG – A court in Luanda sentenced the son of former Angolan president Eduardo Dos Santos to five years in prison over a $500 million corruption case, the Portuguese news agency Lusa reported on Friday.
Jose Filomeno de dos Santos, the former head of Angola’s $5 billion sovereign wealth fund, was found guilty, along with three other defendants, of transferring the money to a Credit Suisse account in London.
His trial has been the most high profile case to date under the anti-corruption drive of President Joao Lourenco, who took the helm after dos Santos stepped down in 2017 after a near four-decade grip of power in Africa’s second-biggest oil exporter.
Judge Joao Pitra found Dos Santos – nicknamed “Zenu” – guilty of fraud, embezzlement, and influence trafficking, Lusa said. Valter Filipe, former governor of the National Bank of Angola, was sentenced to eight years in the case.
António Samalia Bule, former director of Banco Nacional de Angola, and Jorge Gaudens Sebastião, a businessman and longtime friend of Zenu’s, got five years and six years respectively.
All were acquitted of money laundering, Lusa said.
Former president Dos Santos appointed close allies and kin to key positions but his successor, also a member of the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party, has rooted out some of his loyalists and initiated anti-corruption trials against senior members of the former regime.