Exem Energy, a company owned by Isabel dos Santos and Sindika Dokolo (pictured), which has an indirect stake in Galp, confirmed that it was the target of an investigation by the Dutch authorities, related to Sonangol, but guarantees nothing owed to the Angolan oil company.
In response to Lusa, after the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant reported that the Dutch Public Ministry is investigating the company of Isabel dos Santos’ husband, Sindika Dokolo, through which the daughter of former Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos is an indirect shareholder from Galp, an official source for Exem Energy confirmed the information, stressing that the inquiry is “welcome” and will be an opportunity to “clarify various falsehoods and unfounded allegations”.
According to Exem, the survey aims to ascertain whether there are family relationships that may have influenced the conclusion of contracts, partnerships or commercial relationships between this or other ones related to Sindika Dokolo and Sonangol, at the time when Manuel Vicente was chairman of the board of directors of Angolan oil company.
Exem is a 40% shareholder in Esperaza Holding, in which Sonangol holds 60%. The joint venture holds 45% of Amorim Energia, which in turn is a reference shareholder of Galp.
Exem states that it agreed on the investment and participation in Galp with Américo Amorim in 2005 having paid its shares in Esperaza, in the approximate amount of 75 million euros, in two installments: 11.5 million euros paid on signing the contract and 64 million euros plus interest paid in October 2017, in kwanzas, at the exchange rate of the day, “owing nothing to Sonangol for entering the capital of Esperaza and this one in Galp”.
According to the same source, the payment in kwanzas was made following an agreement signed between the two shareholders of Esperaza (Exem and Sonangol), in anticipating the payment of the debt to October 2017, since the remaining debt only matured in December 2017.
Isabel dos Santos, who was president of the oil company for about 18 months until she was exonerated by José Eduardo dos Santos’s successor, João Lourenço, tried to make the payment of Exem’s debt in kwanzas, which was rejected by the new president of Sonangol.
Carlos Saturnino “returned the amounts, indicating that he did not accept kwanzas, and stating that he intended to receive the amount in euros, a statement contrary to the practice of payments received by Sonangol at the time, from other entities”, claims Exem.
The Angolan judicial authorities contradict this version and maintain that Esperaza was 100% financed by Sonangol, totaling more than 193 million euros, having lent Exem Energy 75,075,880 euros, which have not been returned to date.
“There was an attempt to pay the debt by the defendants in kwanzas, a fact that was rejected, due to the debt being contracted in euros and this clause resulting from the contract itself”, according to the Attorney General of the Angolan Republic.
Exem argues, for its part, that having Sonangol agreed to receive payment in kwanzas at the updated exchange rate, “the reason for the return of the money was not understood, which led to a dispute between the parties, and an arbitration is taking place in the Netherlands “.
The businesswoman, husband and manager and former chairman of the board of directors of Banco de Fomento Angola, Mário Leite Silva, saw their bank accounts and holdings in various companies under arrest in December 2018, by order of the Court Provincial of Luanda.
The measure, according to a statement from the Attorney General’s Office released at the time, came as a result of an action brought by the National Asset Recovery Service.
The news from the Dutch newspaper was shared on Saturday on the page of the social platform Twitter by Rui Pinto, who was the source of the revelations of the Luanda Leaks scandal, through PPLAAF, a platform for whistleblowers based in France.
Luanda Leaks refers to an investigation by an international consortium of investigative journalists (ICIJ), which revealed, through access to more than 715 thousand files, the alleged financial schemes of Isabel dos Santos and Sindika Dokolo, which allowed millions to be withdrawn of dollars to the Angolan public purse through tax havens.