Sonangol wants stake in Galp linked to Isabel dos Santos and appeals to Dutch court

  • ECO News
  • 8 February 2021

Sonangol wants to have a 415 million euro stake in Galp associated with Isabel dos Santos. It has already filed a lawsuit in a court in Amsterdam, which will be examined in May.

Angolan state oil company Sonangol advanced to a Dutch court to recover a 415 million euro stake in Galp linked to Isabel dos Santos, according to Reuters.

At stake is the indirect participation of Exem Energy, the late husband of Isabel dos Santos, Sindika Dokolo, in the Portuguese oil company.

Exem holds 40% of Esperaza Holding, in which Sonangol retained a 60% stake. This joint venture controls 45% of Amorim Energia, which in turn is the largest shareholder in Galp with a 33% stake.

It was during the presidency of José Eduardo dos Santos that Sonangol sold part of its stake in Esperaza to Exem, in an operation that the Angolan oil company’s lawyers believe made no commercial sense to the Angolan state and which was done to enrich the Dos Santos family.

According to Sonangol’s lawyer, the lawsuit is due to be examined in a court in Amsterdam during the last week of May. The state oil company will present the argument that Exem’s stake was acquired illegally, involving money laundering.

“It’s all corruption … you (Exem) owe us the shares, the indirect participation in Galp, because it’s theft. It’s illegal, therefore you have to pay it back,” said Emmanuel Gaillard of the law firm Shearman & Sterling, quoted by Reuters.

The representatives of Isabel dos Santos, who led Sonangol between 2016 and 2017, when her father’s four-decade regime ended, did not answer the questions asked by the financial news agency.

The Angolan businesswoman rejected any link with Exem, which she said belonged to her husband who died last year following a dive in Dubai.