Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman and daughter of former President of Angola Jose Eduardo dos Santos, wants a corruption case against her to be dropped, accusing Angolan authorities of using forged documents to freeze her assets.
Angolan authorities froze the bank accounts of the 47-year-old billionaire and her Congolese husband Sindika Dokolo after being accused of siphoning off more than $1 billion from Angolan state companies.
But dos Santos has claimed in a statement that Angolan officials used forged documents including a fake passport that bears the signature of late martial arts film star Bruce Lee as part of the evidence they sent to a court that froze her assets.
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She said her lawyers discovered the fabricated passport and other false documents after being granted access to the court documents last month, according to AFP.
The business tycoon added that her name on the said passport was incomplete and her birth date was wrong.
“But the most ridiculous aspect is the signature of the issuing authority: this is a reproduction of the signature of Bruce Lee, the legendary kung fu actor who died in the 1970s,” a statement released through her public relations agent said.
“Looking at the forged evidence it is now clear that the Angolan state through the intelligence services, prosecution, civil court, and Supreme Court has colluded and contrived a case to obtain an unfair and illegal decision against me,” she said.
“False documents and false statements have been deliberately brought before the court.”
As corruption investigations in Angola continue into Africa’s richest woman, her bank accounts were frozen by Portuguese authorities in the country this February.
Portugal is cooperating with Angola, its former colonial territory and one of its closest international partners. Angola had requested the favor from Portugal as dos Santos’ native country looks into the circumstances that have contributed to her estimated $2.2 billion wealth.
As he was nearing his 38-year reign as leader of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos appointed his daughter to chair Sonangol, Angola’s premium natural gas and petroleum production company. She has been accused of mismanagement and embezzlement of funds during her tenure at Sonangol.
Prosecutors, the BBC reports, are seeking to recover $1 billion that Dos Santos and her associates are alleged to owe the state.
According to Helder Pitta Gros, Angola’s attorney-general, Dos Santos was being provisionally charged with “money laundering, influence peddling, harmful management… [and] forgery of documents, among other economic crimes”.
Dos Santos recently denied with vehemence any wrongdoing in an interview with Al Jazeera. She debunked allegations she siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars of public money into offshore accounts.