Sonaecom challenges judicial seizure of NOS shares held jointly with Isabel dos Santos companies

Judge Carlos Alexandre's decision limits voting rights and dividend distribution for Zopt, a holding company held equally by Sonaecom and companies controlled by the daughter of the former president of Angola.

Tiago Petinga / Lusa

Sonaecom announced that it will judicially contest the decision of the Lisbon Central Criminal Investigation Court to make the preventive seizure of 26,075% of NOS share capital, half of the share held in the operator by Zopt (holding divided by Sonaecom and companies controlled by Isabel dos Santos), as the arrested shares were deprived of the right to vote and the right to receive dividends, which must be deposited at Caixa Geral de Depósitos at the court's order.

According to a statement sent this Saturday night to the Portuguese Securities Market Commission (CMVM), “Sonaecom assumes, as always, an attitude of full collaboration with the judicial authorities, but it cannot conform to a decision that, by violating the basic rule that a public limited company (in this case Zopt) does not answer for the debts of its shareholders, seriously harms the interests of Zopt and Sonaecom, totally alien to the legal process in question, and is liable to affect the regular functioning of the meeting NOS, one of the most important listed companies in the Portuguese capital market ”.

The decision made in March by Judge Carlos Alexandre also entailed the forfeiture of Isabel dos Santos' holdings in Efacec and Eurobic, with another Dutch court proceeding to seize the shares in Esperaza, holding held by the daughter of former Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos and by Sonangol, who is one of Galp Energia's main shareholders.

In the opinion of Sonaecom, which shares Zopt's share with Isabel dos Santos, which in turn has 52,1% of NOS share capital, the deprivation of voting rights “is all the more unique and incomprehensible as it is certain that the Angola's own court did not associate it with the seizure of stakes in Angolan companies that it decreed ”in the context of the case against Isabel dos Santos. And the operator chaired by Miguel Almeida will contest that the deprivation of voting rights “is null and void, insofar as it contradicts a legal rule expressed in the sense that the seizure of a quota, like the attachment, does not deprive the respective holder of voting rights ”, pointing to the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of Justice that the seizure of a quota (or its attachment) does not deprive its holder of voting rights in general meetings.

Without any limitation of rights, following the decision of Judge Carlos Alexandre, 26,075% of NOS remain, which constitute the other half of Zopt's stake in the operator's share capital, so in practice Isabel dos Santos may continue to receive half of the dividends that distributed by the operator to the shareholder Zopt.

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