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Court sentences "Zenu" dos Santos to five years in jail

Luanda, ANGOLA, August 15 - After eight months of trial, the former chairman of the board of the Sovereign Fund of Angola, José Filomeno dos Santos "Zenu", was sentenced on Friday to five years in prison by the Supreme Court. ,

 

The son of the former President of the Republic, José Eduardo dos Santos, was one of the most prominent names in the well-known "500 million case", which also involved the former governor of the National Bank of Angola, Valter Filipe, who was sentenced to eight years in prison.

 

The court also sentenced António Bule to five years in prison and George Gaudens to six years. However, the defence lawyers have already appealed the sentences, with suspensive effect.

 

The case dates back to August 2017, when the defendants began to set up the scheme for the illegal transfer of USD 500 million from the BNA to a bank account in England.

 

The convicts' allegation was that the amount would serve as a guarantee for the financing of strategic projects, valued at 35 billion dollars, which would be mobilised from a syndicate of banks on the international market.

 

Following this, two agreements were signed between the BNA and Mais Financial Services to set up the financing operation.

 

The transfer was made in August 2017, to a PerfectBit account, "contracted by the promoters of the operation", for the purpose of custody of the funds to be structured".

 

The "500 million case" started to be judged on December 9, 2019 and was interrupted because of the Covid-19 pandemic after March.

 

One of the highlights of the trial was the presentation of a letter from the former President of the Republic, José Eduardo dos Santos, received last February, confirming the authorization for Valter Filipe da Silva to transfer.

 

In the meantime, the Public Prosecutor's Office asked the court not to consider the letter, "bearing in mind the public interest" of the case at trial.

 

José Filomeno dos Santos was appointed in 2012 to the board of the Angolan Sovereign Fund, of which he became president in 2013.

 

In 2015 he was reappointed to the board of the Sovereign Fund of Angola and dismissed in January 2018 by the President of the Republic, João Lourenço.

 

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