LISBON (Reuters) – Angolan Vice President Manuel Vicente had been charged in Portugal with corruption and money laundering, the Prosecutor General’s office in Lisbon said on Thursday.
Vicente, seen as a possible successor to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos who has been in power since 1979 and intends to retire next year, is accused of bribing a magistrate when he was chief executive of state oil company Sonangol.
A former prosecutor, Orlando Figueira, who was arrested a year ago, has been charged with receiving a bribe of 760,000 euros ($810,000) to shelve an investigation into Vicente’s dealings in Portugal before he became vice president.
The Angolan vice president’s office had no immediate comment. Angola has branded previous attempts by Portugal to investigate Vicente as “revenge by the former colonial master” and “neo-colonialism”.
The prosecutor’s office will notify Angola about the charges and ask for its cooperation, it said.
Two of Vicente’s legal and finiancial representatives, Paulo Blanco and Armindo Pires, both Portuguese, were also charged with corruption and money laundering for allegedly paying the bribe jointly with Vicente and arranging a job in a bank as a favour for Figueira.
Reuters was unable to reach them for comment.
“In exchange, the former prosecutor ruled in favour of the chief executive of the Angolan company in two investigations, both of which were ultimately shelved by the prosecutor,” the office said.
According to local media, the probe that was shelved in January 2012 focused on the origin of funds with which Vicente had bought a luxury apartment in Lisbon.
($1 = 0.9383 euros)
(Reporting By Andrei Khalip, additional reporting by Herculano Coroado; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)