Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos and her husband Sindika Dokolo were the subject of two reports of suspicious activity in 2013 in the United States, Expresso reports today, as part of a Consortium investigation international journalists.
This news appears in the perimeter of more than 2,000 confidential banking documents (FinCEN files) obtained by BuzzFeed News and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), of which Expresso, of the Impresa group, is a partner, and which reveal how some of the world’s largest banks, including HSBC, have been used in fraud cases.
According to Expresso, the daughter of former Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos “was the subject of two reports of suspicious activity in 2013 in the United States, one by JP Morgan and the other by Standard Chartered” in because of “transfers linked to Unitel and the diamond trade in which Sindika Dokolo was a partner in the Angolan state”.
According to Expresso, the report is tens of pages long and was completed on October 16, 2013: “It is one of two documents included in the FinCEN files linked to Isabel dos Santos. A JP Morgan Chase Bank compliance officer in the United States sent it the next day to FinCEN, the federal agency responsible for prosecuting and transmitting suspicions about possible money laundering plans for possible investigation by law enforcement authorities. “.
Although Isabel dos Santos and her father were not clients, “the report sent to FinCEN shows how JP Morgan had been indirectly involved, as a correspondent bank, in transfers linked to the family and to the Angolan state. “And” there was one transfer, in particular, which drew attention to the “conformity” of the institution: Sindika Dokolo, the husband of Isabel dos Santos, sent on March 2, 2012 four million dollars on the account of a Dutch company, Melbourne Investments BV, which went through a corresponding JP Morgan account. “
Now, as the bank “has not been able to identify any other transfer related to Melbourne Investments BV or a public profile on it, this has reinforced the possibility that it is a shell company. without commercial purpose, “said the report, quoted by Expresso.
As part of Luanda Leaks, another ICIJ investigation, there were already details about this amount and about Melbourne.
“This money was used by Sindika Dokolo to become a partner of the Angolan state company Sodiam in a luxury diamond company in Switzerland, De Grisogono. During this investigation, moreover, all the data collected indicated that the four million dollars would have been the only money placed by her husband in this business, unlike the 147 million placed by the Angolan state (although Dokolo claims having invested a total of 115 million), during this time De Grisogono went bankrupt and Sodiam contracted a debt towards the bank that Isabel dos Santos controlled in Angola, BIC ”, explains Expresso.
Isabel dos Santos and her husband have denied any wrongdoing since the Luanda Leaks investigation. “In any case, the complete lack of information on Melbourne Investments led JP Morgan to go into compliance in the fall of 2013 to gather all he could about the couple,” he adds.
The report includes a list of 26 entities and individuals – including Isabel dos Santos, Sindika and José Eduardo dos Santos – who may be related parties, including Galp in Portugal, where the businesswoman had an indirect stake.
“In total, the bank identified a total of $ 829 million in transfers between 2005 and 2013 related to the universe of these entities, but put the overwhelming majority aside and focused on the review only a few tens of millions, ”he says. the Express.
Movements made between July 3, 2006 and March 2, 2012 on accounts controlled by Sinkika Dokolo which passed through corresponding accounts of foreign banks at JP Morgan have been identified.
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“Besides the EuroBIC, BPI, Deutsche Bank, in Portugal, and BAI, Banco Totta and BESA, in Angola, Isabel dos Santos’ husband then had accounts in Cyprus (FMBE Bank), Luxembourg (Banque Pictet), France (Crédit du Nord) and Congo (International Bank for Africa in Congo, BIAC), ”he adds.
“According to the report found in the FinCEN files, $ 10 million of inflows and outflows were detected in Dokolo’s accounts over those six years, with seven million corresponding to outflows, most of it coming from EuroBIC, in Portugal, and FBME in Cyprus, ”explains the Express.
The Compliance Officer [que visa que a instituição cumpra as regras] “Noted the existence of regular transfers of 100 thousand euros from the FBME to Banque Pictet in Luxembourg, commenting that” the frequency, volume and repetitive value, as well as the different locations of the banks, perhaps indicate an attempt fragment the movement of funds to mask the general materiality of cash flows and prevent this from being reported. “
According to the document, most of the cash inflows from Isabel dos Santos’ husband went to BESA in Angola and BIAC in Congo.
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“Since these transfers appear to be proportional to the movement of funds that left Angola to banking havens using non-transparent methods, all of the flows described above are flagged as suspect,” the document said.
Expresso adds that JP Morgan also reported with a potential risk a set of transfers of five million dollars between 2005 and 2011 from BAI in Angola, with the holder of Clínica Sagrada Família, belonging to the Endiama group, a prospecting company. Angolan public. and diamond exploration, on behalf of the now defunct BES, owned by a company in Portugal.
“The suspicion was, in any event, inconsistent because the hypothesis raised by the compliance officer was that the beneficiary of the funds, a company with the name of Prestação de Serviços, SA, could possibly be Santoro Finance, Prestação de Serviços, SA, one of the companies of the couple Isabel dos Santos and Sindika in Lisbon ”, and“ the reason was that the two companies partially coincide in the name ”.
Expresso reached out to Sindika Dokolo and her lawyers, but none were available for comment.
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However, there is yet another report – from October 18, 2013 – sent by Standard Chartered, New York, to FinCEN, which, although it does not mention the Angolan businesswoman, refers to “a transfer of 18 , 7 million dollars years earlier, on October 13, 2006, from Unitel, the telecommunications company in Angola ”of which Isabel dos Santos is a shareholder and was president, and which was intended for BPI in Lisbon, on an account for the account of the company Vidatel Limited, which had gone through another account in New York.
“The bank’s report is, moreover, a bit confusing as it brings together a set of transfers from accounts of several companies under the Unitel name, in a number of countries, one of which is actually the company telecommunications company based in Angola. that Isabel Santos is a shareholder, ”he said.
“Vidatel is an offshore company registered in the British Virgin Islands, with the beneficiary Isabel dos Santos and, through which, it owns 25% of Unitel in Angola”.