By Our Reporter
An Angolan court has jailed a son of the nation’s former president, making him the most high-profile figure linked to the previous regime to be imprisoned for corruption.
Supreme Court Judge Joao Pitra sentenced Jose Filomeno dos Santos to five years in prison after finding him guilty of embezzlement and fraud, in a judgment delivered Friday in the capital, Luanda.
Jose Filomeno, also known as Zenu, was put in charge of Angola’s $5 billion sovereign wealth fund during the 38-year tenure of his father, Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
He faced charges relating to the illegal transfer of $500 million from the central bank to the London branch of a Swiss lender in 2017 as his father was preparing to step down.
His father said in a statement submitted to the court last year that the transfer was needed to set up a strategic investment fund and finance the oil-rich country’s ailing economy.
The 42-year-old is among several prominent Angolans who’ve fallen from grace to grass since President Joao Lourenco assumed office three years ago. He stood trial alongside former central bank Governor Valter Filipe da Silva, who was handed an eight-year prison sentence. Two others -Dos Santos’ business partner and a former central bank official – were also found guilty.
His sister, billionaire Isabel dos Santos, faces several civil and criminal cases in which the government claims more than $5 billion. Her assets in Angola were frozen last year after authorities accused her of engaging in deals that caused losses to the state during the rule of her father.
Dos Santos has been living outside Angola since 2018. She has denied any wrongdoing and says the allegations against her are politically motivated.