Have Isabel dos Santos and her family finally emptied out Angola’s banks?

Evidence is coming to light that Angolan banks and financial institutions have (as crazy as this sounds), run out of money

Angola Rising reporter Mr. A.M. (his identity is being protected) has learned that banks and other financial institutions in the Angolan capital of Luanda are unable to fulfill requests for money transfers into Angola.  In other words, if money is transferred into Angola (via Western union, MoneyGram, etc.) which should be contractually available for pick up in Luanda, banks and other companies contractually obligated to fulfill the transfer request are unable to complete the transaction. They don’t have the cash on hand. Conversely, if someone in Angola wishes to send OUT money abroad, those same banks and companies are able to send the money out, via wire transfer. So they can take money in, but haven’t got any money to give out (dispense).

Additionally, Mr. A.M. has learned that many, if not most, government employees have not been paid for their work for the month of October. No word on how payroll will proceed for November, but it’s not looking good.

In a call this morning to the Angolan Embassy in Washington, D.C., I (Schatzie) confirmed with the Embassy that there was, indeed, a banking “problem.” The Embassy employee said that, “No one knows what’s going on. If we want to send money back home, we send it with someone who is going there.”

The dictatorship government of Jose Eduard dos Santos may claim that the “cash crunch” is being caused by low oil prices, but that would be very, very far from the truth. In reality, the dos Santos family has been embezzling billions of dollars of money, literally siphoning it off, from the Angolan economy for decades, and, in particular, from the “cash cow” that is the national oil company, Sonangol, which is now unable to pay back its outside debt.

Just recently, as was reported on November 10th by the website Maka Angola (click here for English version and click here for the Portuguese version), Standard Charter Bank declined a suspicious attempt to transfer out $300,000 from the state owned (run by Isabel dos Santos) oil company, Sonangol to a Maltese shell company named “Wise Intelligence Solutions” which is owned by Isabel dos Santos. Standard Charter Bank suspected the $300,000 payment from Angola’s Sonangol to Isabel dos Santos for “consultancy services” was basically money laundering, and declined the transfer.

To be filed under, “Knowing No Shame,” Isabel dos Santos continues to travel the globe, partying and playing in the most glamorous of settings, even participating in a Dolce and Gabanna Fashion Show, as can be seen in the screenshot from her own Instagram account (below – Isabel dos Santos is the woman in the black halter top on the right. You can watch her dance on the runway here):

ids-in-dg-fashion-walk

She and her husband, Congolese “art collector” Sindika Dokolo, don’t seem to have a care in the world – other than trying to find ways to squander the last bits of Angola’s natural resource wealth.

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And those Instagram photos above are just some of her latest photos. For more of their pillaging of Angola’s money, please see my post from a few months ago HERE.

Why should the West care about Angolan banks being emptied out by the dos Santos family?
As Maka Angola also recently reported, Sonangol has acquired enormous (and seemingly unpayable) debts to major oil companies, such as BP (Sonangol owes them over $135 million):

ids-bp-ceo

Eni (Sonangol owes them over $125 million):

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And, in fact, as Maka Angola reported on November 20, 2016, Sonangol seems to only be servicing debt to companies owned by the dos Santos family, leaving outstanding debt owed to Western oil companies pegged at roughly $1 billion dollars.

Angolan oil company Sonangol owes:

$380+ million to Chevron
$360+ million to Total SA
$135+ million to BP
$125+ million to Eni

Again, make no mistake about it: the dos Santos family has been money laundering Angola’s natural resource wealth for years. Those same oil companies listed above were, and are, fully aware of what they’ve gotten themselves (and their shareholders) into. No one knows exactly how many billions of dollars the dos Santos family has taken out of the country. Some accounts put the amount at tens of billions of dollars.   

A few years ago, the IMF went searching for the lost money ($32 billion dollars), and essentially just threw it’s organizational “hands up.” But that is no excuse for what’s been happening on the ground in Angola, one of the most oil-rich countries in Africa, and yet, one of the poorest and most corrupt nations on Earth.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t have Isabel dos Santos lauded as the richest woman in Africa (seemingly out of nowhere) at $3.8 billion dollars, and her father, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos “worth” $20 billion dollars (!) AND have a country where people live on less than $2 a day.

Angola (whose GDP was $85 billion dollars in 2010), according to Transparency International, has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, at 97.9 infant deaths per 1,000 live births (compare that to 66.4 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in Sudan), and one of the lowest life expectancy rates of 50 years (compare that to 61 years in Sudan).

The dos Santos family has just about stolen and squandered every last bit of Angola’s natural resource wealth, to the detriment of its population. Once they’ve finished, they’ll no doubt try to find some corner of the world that will tolerate their stench. My guess would be someplace in China or the former Soviet Union (Isabel dos Santos’ mother is Russian). Meanwhile, Western oil companies will further plunder Angola in hopes of getting their money back, and, if they can’t, shareholders will suffer. I don’t give the slightest bit of a damn about the Western oil companies, who are entirely complicit in this charade. I especially don’t care about the common thieves who are the dos Santos family.

[By the way, WAY TO GO New York Times, for “allowing” Sonangol to pay you to be a Sponsor in this ridiculous conference called “Oil and Money,” which cost the Angolan people somewhere between $25,000-$150,000 just to have their name on some useless placard. Who will be sponsoring next year’s conference? ISIS? They’ve got a lot of oil revenue, too.]

ids-oil-and-money

The real losers in this whole mess are the people of Angola.

Their banks and financial institutions may very well have been gutted by the dos Santos family, but I’d bet that the average Angolan would gladly turn their backs on the $32+ billion dollars of lost revenue just to be rid of those scoundrels.

 

 

Further reading:
“How Isabel dos Santos took the short route to become Africa’s richest woman,” Forbes, August 14, 2013