Angola’s President Continues Sweep of Dos Santos Family as Sodiam Cuts Ties with De Grisogono

World News
05/12/2017 16:55

Angolan state-owned diamond company Sodiam will divest a stake in Geneva-based jewelry maker De Grisogono - a Swiss firm controlled by the husband of the billionaire daughter (Isabel) of former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos - for “reasons of public interest and legality,” report Henrique Almeida and Candido Mendes for Bloomberg Markets. The move comes, the journalists write, as Angola’s new leader, President Joao Lourenco, untangles the country from the business interests of his predecessor’s family. 

De Grisogono is controlled by Sindika Dokolo, the husband of Isabel dos Santos, who is often referred to as Africa's richest woman and was fired last month as chair of state-owned oil company Sonangol, together with the entire board of Sonangol. Since replacing Dos Santos at the helm of Angola in September, Joao Lourenco, 63, has fired the governor of the central bank, the head of diamond company Endiama and the boards of all three state-owned media companies, including two local and an international state-owned television channels of managed by Dos Santos’ younger children. Sodiam is a former unit of Endiama, another state-owned diamond company in Africa’s biggest producer of the precious gems.

The authors wrote in a November 14 article, "When Lourenco became president many thought he would become a puppet to the 75-year-old Dos Santos, who ruled Angola for 38 years and remains the head of the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola party. Yet, the 63-year-old former army general has signaled he is nobody’s marionette. In his state of the union speech on Oct. 16, Lourenco vowed to fight corruption and end monopolies in the cement sector. Isabel’s husband, Sindika Dokolo, is the chairman of one of the biggest cement factories in Angola.