Friends of Angola

LUANDA (Reuters) – The son of Angola’s ex-president, José Filomeno dos Santos, has been charged with fraud relating to a $500 million transaction out of an account belonging to the central bank, the prosecutor general’s office said on Monday.

Dos Santos is the highest profile figure to be charged since President Joao Lourenco succeeded former leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos last September vowing to tackle an endemic culture of corruption.

British authorities that froze the $500 million in the UK due to suspicions over the transaction have said the money can be returned to Angola.

Dos Santos, the former head of Angola’s $5 billion sovereign wealth fund, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The former governor of the central bank, Valter Filipe da Silva, has also been charged with fraud in relation to the case, prosecutors said in comments transmitted by state radio.

Da Silva could not be contacted for comment.

Dos Santos’ passport has been seized and he is forbidden from leaving the country.

Prosecutors said that the alleged fraud does not fall under any of Angola’s amnesty’s for financial wrongdoing or repatriation of overseas funds and the crime would not be pardoned.

“A pardon will not work… this case will run to its final outcome,” vice prosecutor and head of the National Directorate for Criminal Investigations Luis Benza Zanga said.

Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Joe Brock