Angola Gets $500 Million From HSBC Account That Was Frozen

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(FILES) This file photo taken on August 29, 2012 shows Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos greeting the crowd during an election campaign rally in Kilamba Kaixi, on the outskirts of Luanda. Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos returned from Spain more than two weeks after he left on a "private visit", the presidency said on July 20, 2017, as rumours of ill health swirl. The 74-year-old leader who has been in power since 1979 had left the country on July 3, five weeks after a month-long stay in Barcelona for medical tests. / AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN

By Ana Monteiro and Henrique Almeida

  • Funds were meant for set-up of strategic investment fund
  • Country also looking to recoup a further 24.85 million euros

(Bloomberg) Angola has recouped $500 million that was frozen in an HSBC Holdings Plc account in London linked to an alleged fraud involving Jose Filomeno dos Santos, the son of the former president, the Finance Ministry said.

The funds were part of $1.5 billion that the Angolan government was to pay Mais Financial Services, a company managed by a person close to Dos Santos, for the start-up of a $35 billion strategic investment fund for state projects and another that would place $300 million weekly in the local-currency market, the ministry said in an emailed statement Monday.

In August, the southern African nation paid the funds into the HSBC account held by PerfectBit, a company contracted by Mais. The ministry then conducted a due-diligence exercise and found that PerfectBit was a dormant company, it said. Former central bank Governor Valter Filipe da Silva then asked HSBC to freeze the funds held in the account.

Last month, Angolan authorities named Dos Santos, the former head of Angola’s sovereign wealth fund, Da Silva and several other people suspects in relation to the $500 million transfer.

The move highlights President Joao Lourenco’s determination to deliver on his pledge to fight widespread corruption since taking the helm of Africa’s second-biggest oil producer in September from Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled for 38 years and remains the leader of the ruling party. Angola ranks among the world’s 20 most-corrupt countries in the world, according to Berlin-based Transparency International.

Angolan authorities are working on recouping a further 24.85 million euros ($31 million) that were transferred into an account held by Mais, the ministry said.

— With assistance by Candido Mendes

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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