Sindika Dokolo: From prison to the charge of 'plot'. Controversies of the Congolese businessman and art collector

Sindika Dokolo, businessman and collector of Congolese art, died in Dubai, while diving, this Thursday. Behind are some controversial episodes, almost all related to Isabel dos Santos.

The businessman and art collector, Sindika Dokolo, was 48 years old and was born in the current Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2002 he married Isabel dos Santos, daughter of former Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos. The businessman was involved in some controversial episodes that, at times, also coincided with the accusations against Isabel dos Santos in the context of the Luanda Leaks.

Sindika, owner of one of the most important collections of contemporary African art (which has three thousand works), was the son of a Congolese father and a Danish mother, having divided his childhood between Belgium and France. He attended the Lycée Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague in Paris, where he finished high school, and graduated in Economics, Commerce and Foreign Languages ​​at the Pierre and Marie Curie University. In 1995, Sindika decided to return to the former Zaire to take over the family business that totaled 17 companies in activities as diverse as banking, livestock, fishing, coffee exports, real estate, goods transport, insurance and mining, among others.

Sentenced to 1 year in prison

On July 17, 2017, Sindika Dokolo, a businessman and collector of Congolese art, and also José Eduardo dos Santos' son-in-law, was sentenced to one year in prison, as part of a real estate case. Isabel dos Santos' husband accused the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila, for the conviction, denouncing the case on Twitter, precisely after opening in Luanda, on Wednesday, a new cement factory of the group he leads, the Cimangola. “When I inaugurate a 400 million dollar factory [cement factory in Luanda], JKabila [Joseph Kabila] sentenced me to a year in prison for a piece of land. Lord Kabila! It will be lost in your Justice ”, wrote Dokolo in this social network.

According to local media, Sindika Dokolo was sentenced in absentia for real estate fraud by a court in Kinshasa. In another tweet, the Congolese businessman attacked the conviction again. “I invested 400 million dollars in a factory. Wanting to convict me for stealing a million [dollars] is not credible, ”he published.

Freezing accounts

In early January 2020, the freezing of Sindika Dokolo's bank accounts in several companies also arrested by the Provincial Court of Luanda, led the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo to warn of the serious consequences of these measures. "Under pressure internally, he came to exercise what, in terms of international law, is called diplomatic protection of a citizen whose interests were affected by a decision by a foreign state," Angola's diplomatic source at the time told Expresso.

Investigation for money laundering

The weekly “Expresso” reported earlier this year that businesswoman Isabel dos Santos was being investigated by the Monaco authorities for the crime of money laundering, as was her father, former Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos, and her husband, the Congolese businessman Sindika Dokolo. According to "Expresso", "the investigations could be extended to other family members, friends and closest collaborators who, directly or indirectly, were involved in business with them", being mentioned in the news an official of the investigation services Angolan criminal law that accompanies the case in collaboration with Interpol. The investigation by the Monaco authorities was motivated by the detection of large sums deposited with financial institutions in the principality.

Sindika accuses Rui Pinto and João Lourenço of plot

On January 19 this year, and in the midst of the Luanda Leaks scandal, Sindika Dokolo came out in defense of Isabel dos Santos and accused the Portuguese hacker of being the armed arm of the 'complot', speaking to the RFI. In addition to Rui Pinto, Dokolo defended that João Lourenço, president of Angola, and Manuel Vicente, former vice president of Angola, were also part of this Luanda Papers' plot. Luanda Leaks is an investigation by an international consortium of investigative journalists (ICIJ), which suggests that Isabel dos Santos benefited from immense opportunities derived from Eduardo dos Santos, former president of Angola and father of Isabel dos Santos, while running the country, and shows how Isabel dos Santos built a fortune at the expense of the State of angola.

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