Angola’s Supreme Court on Friday handed a five-year jail sentence to Jose Filomeno dos Santos, the son of the oil-rich country’s former president, for fraud when he headed the national sovereign wealth fund.
Dos Santos, 42, was summoned before court in December over allegations he tried to embezzle up to $1.5 billion (1.3 billion euros) from the sovereign wealth fund, which he oversaw from 2013 to 2018.
Nicknamed “Zenu”, dos Santos was charged with stealing $500m from the fund and transferring it to a Swiss bank account.
“For the crime of fraud… and for the crime of peddling influence… the legal cumulus condemns him to a single sentence of five years in prison,” Supreme Court judge Joao da Cruz Pitra said.
Three co-defendants, including the former governor of the National Bank of Angola (BNA), Valter Filipe da Silva, were sentenced to between four and six years in prison for fraud, embezzlement and influence peddling.
Zenu is the first member of the former presidential family to be prosecuted as part of an anti-corruption campaign led by President Joao Lourenco, who came to power in 2017.
His father, José Eduardo dos Santos, led the country for 38 years. He was president from 1979 until he resigned in 2017, and was replaced by his former defence minister, Joao Lourenço.
Back in February, Angolan investigators froze the assets of Zenu’s billionaire half-sister, Isabel dos Santos.
She is being probed for a long list of crimes in Angola, including mismanagement, embezzlement, and money laundering during her stewardship of the state-run oil giant, Sonangol.