Isabel dos Santos manager complains to regulators about Sonangol's fake contract in 2005

The former adviser to businesswoman Isabel dos Santos at Sonangol complained about a “false contract” that would have injured the Angolan oil company in 193 million euros in 2005.

The former advisor to businesswoman Isabel dos Santos at Sonangol, Mário Leite da Silva, complained to international regulators about a “false contract” that would have injured the Angolan oil company in 193 million euros in 2005.

“This contract is false and was brought to the official knowledge by the Angolan Public Prosecutor's Office in a judicial arrest proceeding against the people of Isabel dos Santos and her husband Sindika Dokolo and against me,” writes Mário Leite da Silva, in the complaint addressed to international regulators, including Banco de Portugal, to which the Lusa agency had access today.

The Portuguese manager, who was chairman of the board of directors of Banco de Fomento Angola when the businesswoman controlled the institution, says he was aware of the “false contract” by analyzing documents he made after being the subject of a civil lawsuit brought by the Angolan justice. .

At stake is Sonangol's agreement - then led by Manuel Vicente, who would become vice-president of Angola, under the presidency of José Eduardo dos Santos - with Amorim Energia to enter Galp's capital. To this end, Sonangol formed the Esperaza joint-venture with Exem Energy, owned by Isabel dos Santos, with 60% falling to the oil company and the remaining 40% to the entrepreneur. Subsequently, Esperaza holds 45% of the capital of Amorim Energia, a holding that has a 33,34% position in the Portuguese oil company. Indirectly, Angolans thus control 15% of Galp.

According to the Angolan court, Esperaza's initial capital, amounting to 193 million euros, was invested in its entirety by the Angolan oil company, which claims in court the amount owed that would correspond to the part of the businesswoman.

Leite da Silva accuses the Angolan Public Prosecutor's Office of acting "in surrogacy" to Sonangol's interests in order to obtain, "as he did", the seizure of the assets of Isabel dos Santos, from the husband of the businesswoman, the Congolese Sindika Dokolo, and his own.

Esperaza was acquired in 2006 but the contract for entry into the 'joint venture', which Mário Leite Silva says is false, “has a date of November 30, 2005” and will have allowed the withdrawal of 193 million euros from Sonangol .

“The people who appear to sign the said 'contract' on behalf of Esperaza (Fernando Santos, at the legal responsible date of Sonangol and Francisco Lemos José Maria, at that time, financial director of Sonangol who was later appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of this company state) had no employment relationship and / or powers of representation conferred by ABN AMRO Special Corporate Services BV, in Esperaza on November 30, 2005 or on any date prior to January 30, 2006 ”, writes Mário Leite da Silva, referring to the moment when Sonangol entered the share capital of Esperaza.

“Since the fake supply contract contains the signature of the people who signed on behalf of Esperaza - not including their names at the place of the respective signatures (Fernando Santos and Francisco Lemos José Maria) we were able to prove that they were the ones who compared the signatures of the alleged supply 'contract' with other documents that they signed ”, adds the manager.

In the same document, the manager stresses that the “contract” in question “incorporates the crime of forgery of document and use of false document” and indicates the “illegal withdrawal of public funds from Sonangol” and the practice of crimes of appropriation - embezzlement, abuse of trust or fraud - economic participation in business, “as well as the laundering of the respective values”.

"I was never aware, directly or indirectly, of the existence of that contract (...) I became aware in 2020 of the existence of this document", he writes.

The complaint also states that the disbursements provided for in the contract in question "whose value amounts to 193.465.406,23 euros" were "fully" made but that "there was no evidence of the banking movements underlying the foreclosure process (...) ”.

In the letter sent to the regulators, Leite Silva claims to have led, on the side of Amorim Holding II SGPS SA, the sale of Esperaza to Angolan shareholders in 2006.

The 19-page letter signed by Mário Leite da Silva was sent from Lisbon on September 11 to Banco de Portugal, Banco Nacional de Angola, De Nederlandsche Bank, European Central Bank, ABN AMRO Bank, Banco Comercial Português, Bank of America, Standard Chartered Bank and the European Parliament.

The complainant asks the regulators to carry out an "enhanced investigation" and urgent "to the circumstances that give context to the emergence of the said 'contract', in order to investigate acts of an illegal nature and who were responsible".

The letter includes more than a dozen attached documents, including the contract between Sonangol and Esperaza that Mário Leite da Silva says is "false".

Lusa tried to get more explanations from the manager, but Mário Leite da Silva declined to comment.

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