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Angola prosecutor says will use 'all means' to bring back Isabel dos Santos

LUANDA: Angola’s prosecutor general on Monday vowed to use “all possible” means to bring back Isabel dos Santos, the ex-president’s billionaire daughter who is accused of siphoning off millions of dollars of public money.

“We will use all possible means and activate international mechanisms to bring Isabel dos Santos back to the country,” prosecutor general Helder Pitra Gros told public radio.

Dos Santos left Luanda after her father’s successor President Joao Lourenco came to power in 2017, and now moves mostly between Lisbon and London.

The prosecutor’s remarks came after a trove of 715,000 files dubbed the “Luanda Leaks” was released at the weekend and accused the eldest daughter of former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos of funnelling state funds from the oil-rich country into overseas assets.

Angola's prosecutors last month froze the bank accounts and assets owned by the 46-year-old businesswoman and her Congolese husband Sindika Dokolo, which she described as a groundless political vendetta.

An award-winning investigative team published a trove of files Sunday allegedly showing how Africa's richest woman syphoned hundreds of millions of dollars of public money into offshore accounts.

The New York-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) worked with newspapers such as Munich's Suddeutsche Zeitung to reveal the "Panama Papers" tax haven scandal in 2016.

Back home, the 46-year-old Dos Santos is already being probed under an anti-graft campaign launched by Lourenco, who has vowed to root out corruption and rebuild the economy.

The prosecutor general said “it was quite a coincidence that she received our (investigation) notification during the day and at night, she left the country”.

He did not specify when exactly she left the country.

“We have asked for international support from Portugal, Dubai, and other countries,” he said.

Dos Santos has denied any wrongdoing and denounced the investigation as “politically motivated”.

Dos Santos took to Twitter to refute the claims, launching a salvo of around 30 tweets in Portuguese and English, and accusing journalists involved in the investigation of telling "lies".

"My fortune is built on my character, my intelligence, education, capacity for work, perseverance," she wrote.

She also blasted "the racism and prejudice" of SIC-Expresso, a Portuguese TV station and newspaper, and member of the ICIJ, "that recall the colonial era when an African could never be considered equal to a European".

Dos Santos's lawyer dismissed the ICIJ findings as a "highly coordinated attack" orchestrated by Angola's current rulers, in a statement quoted by The Guardian newspaper.

Dos Santos herself told BBC Africa the file dump was part of a "witch hunt" meant to discredit her and her father.


(With AFP and Free Malaysia) 

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