Who is Isabel dos Santos -- The Angolan billionaire woman who left behind an empty treasury

Angola's Isabel dos Santos's financial dealings have come to light because of the actions of Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa leaking several documents to ICIJ

A self-made billionaire, a fighter and Africa's richest woman, Isabel dos Santos has finally been exposed for her lies. The woman who has left an entire nation in tatters was exposed by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and several other news agencies.

During her public appearances in 2017, the then head of the Sanagol group, talked and mingled with several people by highlighting her accomplishments and hard work. While talking to the packed audience at the London School of Economics, the top autocrat's daughter said that the leaders should be chosen for their merits.

The huge leak of the confidential information of the richest woman in Africa has led to the revelation of the truth behind the giant fortune and Angola's empty treasury.

Isabel dos Santos
Isabel dos Santos Wikimedia Commons

The Big Reveal of Santos and her husband: Luanda Leaks

Dos Santos has denied that her estimated fortune of $2. 2 billion was earned through nepotism and corruption. The oil-rich nation was ruled by her father for nearly four decades. But the investigation that was led by several journalists from around the world revealed that the fortune was in fact earned through her father's influence as the president of the country.

José Eduardo dos Santos, retired from his position in the government only in 2017. By then, Isabel dos Santos had amassed much through her father's influence and married Sindika Dokolo, an art collector and businessman from the Republic of Congo. According to the ICIJ, she had gained opportunities through her father and his government.

Dos Santos spends most of her time in London and controls her business in Africa and Europe from there. Her interests in business spans across banking, telecoms, TV, cement, diamonds, alcohol, supermarkets and real estate. The Luanda leaks occurred because of the anti-corruption charity called the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF). The organisation was behind unlocking around 715,000 emails, charts, contracts, audits and accounts which revealed Santos in her true form.

The PPLAAF had previously been successful in toppling Jacob Zuma in South Africa. Dos Santos and her husband said that this was a political witch hunt led by Angola's new President. Her father has denied any wrong-doing on his part as the former president of the country. He said that he has not transferred any government or public money to his own benefit.

What have the leaked files revealed?

One part of the document revealed by ICIJ suggests that the workings of the sale of the state oil company, Sonangol, and the purchase of shares from the Portuguese oil corporation, Galp, which has turned out to be one of the most valuable assets for the couple. The investment is now worth $750 million, with an initial investment backed by a loan of $11 million.

Around $115 million is said to have been paid to consultancy firms while dos Santos was the chairwoman of the state oil company which was routed through a company controlled by her associates in Dubai. The public debt of $200 million came into being after the couple started a business venture with the state diamond company. They were trying to prop up an ailing Swiss company which was partially owned by Dokolo.

With the continued revelation of the dos Santos' and Dokolo's dealings, the international community is closing ranks on the 'princess' of Angola. She has already been removed from the list of participants meeting in Davos for the World Economic Forum this week.