Isabel dos Santos amassed a fortune during her billionaire father's presidency and has denied any wrongdoing over alleged fraud.

In this file photo taken on February 5, 2018, Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos visits EFACEC Portuguese corporation's electric mobility industrial unit in Maia.
In this file photo taken on February 5, 2018, Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos visits EFACEC Portuguese corporation's electric mobility industrial unit in Maia. (AFP)

Angola's billionaire former first daughter Isabel dos Santos has been charged with money laundering and mismanagement during her stewardship of state-owned oil firm Sonangol, as Luanda moves to try and bring her home to face trial for looting the country's coffers.

Documents leaked this week alleged the daughter of ex-president Jose Eduardo dos Santos plundered state revenues to build her fortune, estimated at $2.1 billion.

"Isabel dos Santos is accused of mismanagement and embezzlement of funds during her tenure at Sonangol and is thus charged in the first instance with the crimes of money laundering, influence peddling, harmful management ... forgery of documents, among other economic crimes," prosecutor general Helder Pitta Gros told a news conference late Wednesday.

Investigations into Isabel dos Santos's 18-month tenure as Sonangol head from June 2016 were opened after her successor Carlos Saturnino raised the alarm about "irregular money transfers" and other dodgy procedures.

Dos Santos is accused of using her father's backing to steal money from the oil- and diamond-rich but poor southern African country and moving it abroad with the help of Western firms.

Portuguese newspaper Expresso said others linked to dos Santos were also named as formal suspects including Mario Leite da Silva, chairman of Banco de Fomento Angola. Silva could not immediately be reached for comment.

In Portugal, dos Santos holds significant stakes in several major firms including NOS and oil firm Galp Energia.

A spokeswoman for Portugal's public prosecutors office confirmed to Reuters that Angola's Pitta Gros and Portugal's attorney general Lucilia Gago will meet in Lisbon on Thursday. She did not say what they will discuss.

Sells Eurobic stake

Dos Santos has decided to sell her stake in Portuguese bank Eurobic, the small lender said on Wednesday.

It made the announcement soon after Portuguese news agency Lusa reported that Angolan prosecutors had named dos Santos as a formal suspect.

Lusa quoted Angola's attorney general, Helder Pitta Gros, as telling a news conference in the Angolan capital Luanda that dos Santos had not directly shown any interest in collaborating with Angolan authorities.

Dos Santos is Eurobic's main shareholder but the bank said she had decided to withdraw from the bank's shareholding structure and sell her stake.

In a statement sent to Reuters, Eurobic said the selling process of the 42.5 percent stake had already started and dos Santos' decision was "final".

It said her exit would take place "as soon as possible", and that Bank of Portugal, the central bank, had been informed of the decision.

On Monday, Bank of Portugal said in a statement it had asked Eurobic about transfers between Angola and Dubai and Portugal's prosecutor's office said it would investigate the media reports.

ICIJ investigation

Hundreds of thousands of files about dos Santos that were obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) were released by several news organisations on Sunday.

The media reports focused on alleged financial schemes used by dos Santos to build her business empire, including transfers between Angola and Dubai.

Dos Santos said on Sunday that allegations made against her were "completely unfounded".

Angolan authorities froze dos Santos' assets in the African country in late December following allegations by prosecutors that she and her husband Sindika Dokolo had steered payments of more than $1 billion from state companies Sonangol and Sodiam to firms in which they held stakes. 

Dos Santos and Dokolo denied wrongdoing.

Source: Reuters