Analysis By Rafael Marques De Morais
When Isabel dos Santos sits down to count her billions, as Africaâ€™s richest woman, much of that fortune is in stocks and shares which she counts as her own.
Forbes estimates her wealth at US $3.3 billion. The reality, however, is that a large proportion (almost two thirds of her fortune) estimated at 1.6 billion Euros (US $1.8 billion) according to the DiÃ¡rio Economicoâ€™s calculations, corresponds to stocks in the Portuguese oil and gas company, Galp, which legally belong to the Angolan National Oil Company, Sonangol.
President JosÃ© Eduardo dos Santosâ€™s daughter told the Wall Street Journal last February: â€œIâ€™m not financed by any state money or any public funds.â€ She insisted â€œI donâ€™t do that.â€ Ever since the announcement that she had become a billionaire, Isabel has done her utmost to justify her fortune as â€œcleanâ€, the result of entrepreneurial expertise which began with her selling eggs at the tender age of six.
Galp is Portugalâ€™s largest company in the oil and gas sector with share capital worth 9.5 billion euros. Maka Angola has conduced an investigation which unmasks Isabel dos Santos and proves that â€“ contrary to her assertions â€“ her Galp shares were obtained via Sonangol in a business deal paid for by State money and public funds.
Isabelâ€™s Galp interests are held indirectly, through the offshore Esperaza Holding BV which owns 45% of Amorim Energia, the largest shareholder in Galp with 38.4% of its stock. Amorim Energiaâ€™s majority owner (with 55%) is Portugalâ€™s richest man, AmÃ©rico Amorim, who was Isabelâ€™s partner in creating the BIC bank in 2005. The two are also partners in the company Nova Cimangola, acquired from Cimpor by the Angolan State for US $75 million. It is through Esperaza Holding that Sonangolâ€™s funds were channelled to Isabel dos Santos.