Tue. Jun 11th, 2024

Rui PintoImage copyright
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Image caption

Rui Pinto is currently awaiting trial in Portugal

The author of the Football Leaks website, Rui Pinto, has come forward as the source behind leaked documents which showed how Africa’s richest woman made her fortune.

The documents allege Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of a former president of Angola, was able to enrich herself through corruption.

Ms Dos Santos has denied the allegations.

Mr Pinto has come forward through his lawyer, William Bourdon.

“These revelations should allow for new investigations to be launched and thus help in the fight against impunity for financial crimes in Angola and in the world,” said Mr Bourdon.

Mr Bourdon, who is also chief of the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF), a Paris-based advocacy group, says his client acted in the public interest.

Public interest

The documents show how the daughter of former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos and her husband were allowed to buy valuable state assets in a series of suspicious deals and build a $2bn fortune.

The former president’s daughter has made the UK her home and owns expensive properties in central London.

She is already under criminal investigation by the authorities in Angola for corruption and her assets in the country have been frozen.

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Media captionIsabel dos Santos: “I regret that Angola has chosen this path”

Attorney General Helder Pitta Gros has said the allegations relate to her time as chairwoman of state oil firm Sonangol.

Ms Dos Santos says the allegations against her are entirely false and that there is a politically motivated witch-hunt by the Angolan government.

Who is Isabel dos Santos?

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  • Eldest daughter of ex-President Jose Eduardo dos Santos
  • Married to Congolese art collector and businessman Sindika Dokolo
  • Educated in the UK, where she currently lives
  • Reported to be Africa’s richest woman, with a fortune of some $2bn
  • Has stakes in oil and mobile phone companies and banks, mostly in Angola and Portugal

Source: Forbes magazine and others

Football corruption

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) director Gerard Ryle said: “The leaking of this material to PPLAAF, and in turn to ICIJ’s media partners, provided indisputable evidence of unnecessary misery that was inflicted on the ordinary people of Angola, and the role of enablers who got rich by helping.

“The documents came from a concerned citizen – someone doing the right thing by the public.”

The BBC’s Panorama team, as well as other news outlets, published the revelations earlier this month.

Mr Pinto’s Football Leaks was launched in 2015 to uncover alleged corruption taking place in the sport.

Football Leaks provided millions of documents and more than 3.4 terabytes of information to media outlets in the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) consortium.

Government duty

Last year, French prosecutors said they had collaborated with Mr Pinto on their own investigation, using material provided by him.

Mr Pinto is currently detained awaiting trial in Portugal. He faces 90 criminal charges and is expected to stand trial this year, accused of computer fraud, attempted extortion and other offences.

Mr Bourdon is a long-time French human rights lawyer who has represented Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Hervé Falciani of Swiss Leaks and Antoine Deltour of Lux Leaks.

He pledged to defend Pinto in the event of any future legal action over the Dos Santos leaks, also known as the Luanda Leaks.

Mr Bourdon told an ICIJ gathering in Paris last year that protecting whistleblowers should be a duty for every government and society.

Source: CNN Africa

By Joy

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