A banker implicated in the ‘Luanda Leaks’, documents alleging fraud and money-laundering against Africa's richest woman, Isabel dos Santos, has been found dead in Lisbon. Nuno Ribeiro da Cunha, who managed the account of state oil firm Sonangol at the Portuguese bank EuroBic, was found dead at one of his properties in Portugal’s capital city.
The death was reported soon after Angolan prosecutors formally named the suspects in the money laundering and embezzlement case. According to media reports, police has pointed towards a high possibility of suicide. On January 21, EuroBic announced the end of its relationship with Dos Santos after the investigative reports of questionable deals were made public.
A trove of emails, charts, contracts, audits and accounts were collected under the Luanda Leaks project, which was later obtained by the anti-corruption charity Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF). The documents were reviewed and attorney general, Heldér Pitta Grós, in a press conference, alleged that Isabel dos Santos was involved in misappropriation of funds during her term as chairperson of Sonangol, the state oil company.
The investigative report by ICIJ claimed that it has exposed two decades of ‘unscrupulous deal’ that made dos Santos Africa’s wealthiest woman. It also alleged that thousands of families were forcibly evicted from their Luanda homes on land that was part of a redevelopment project involving a dos Santos company. Isabel dos Santos, in series of social media posts, lashed out at ICIJ and its investigative partners, including BBC and The Guardian, saying they presented a “misleading picture”.
The 46-year-old billionaire said that there is a great lack of knowledge of the processes and procedures in Angola which leads to assumptions that there are no laws and processes in the African nation. "No one goes to Sonangol at the hardest moment in Sonangol's life unless they have a sense of mission, a sense that they can help to contribute and make a difference," she wrote in an Instagram post.