A year ago, the dos Santos family handed the Angolan presidency over to Joao Lourenco who promised to tackle the corruption that crippled the oil-rich nation. In the war to regain Angola’s lost glory, Jose Filomeno dos Santos, son of the former president and head of Angola’s sovereign wealth fund, Fundo Soberano de Angola (FSDEA) was dismissed, arrested and detained for seven months. He was just released on March 24, 2019.
The list of allegations against him include the formation of a criminal organization, illegal enrichment, money laundering and corruption.
Dos Santos had been accused of attempting to steal $1.5 billion when he headed Angola’s sovereign wealth fund. In March last year, he was also charged for the alleged transfer of $500 million from Angola’s central bank to a UK bank, but he was not arrested then.
The Quantum Global-Angola saga began in 2017 when Swiss newspaper Le Matin Dimanche reported that about $3 billion of Angola’s wealth fund were invested in seven investment funds in Mauritius managed by a unit of
private investment firm Quantum Global. FSDEA sacked Quantum Global as its asset manager due to concerns about how Quantum’s funds were being invested and by 2018, it was discovered that FSDEA’s dismissed head who is also a business partner to Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, founder and CEO of Quantum Global, was allegedly involved in money laundering. The puzzle began to unravel.
As more discoveries were made, Mauritius Financial Service Commission realised that risked a reputational crisis that has trailed some of the children of the former Angolan President, so the country froze 58 bank accounts and suspended business licenses that were linked to Quantum Global Investment Management.
The seven-month detention of Jose Filomeno dos Santos led to the recovery of $3.35 billion of Angola’s sovereign wealth funds that were under the management of Quantum Global Investment Management.
FSDEA announced that it had recovered “all the financial and non-financial assets of the Angolan Sovereign Fund, which was under the control of Quantum Global, amounting to $2.35 billion domiciled in British and Mauritian banks and another $1.0 billion in assets.” The recovery of the money signals the end of the Dos Santos-Quantum-Angola saga.
Quantum Global announced last week that a confidential settlement agreement had been reached between the FSDEA and Bastos, Quantum’s founder and CEO.
Quantum Global also announced that Bastos, who had been detained as a result of the issues was released from detention and that the Angolan authorities have not filed any criminal conduct charges against him.
Following the decision by the Angolan authorities not to file charges, the Mauritian authorities have also lifted the freezing order against the bank accounts of Quantum Global and Bastos. In addition, the Mauritian Financial Services Commission reinstated the Group’s licenses.