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23/08/2017 Portugal Dominated Angola for Centuries. Now the Roles Are Reversed.

- The New York Times

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EUROPE

Portugal Dominated Angola for Centuries. Now the Roles


Are Reversed.
By NORIMITSU ONISHI AUG. 22, 2017
LISBON How the roles have reversed: The colonizer, some Portuguese contend, has been colonized.

On the Portuguese coast of Cascais, where the nations royal court used to summer, a new 14-story condominium
building looms confidently by the sea. So many of its apartments have been bought by Angolas ruling class sometimes a
handful at a time that the development has a nickname: the Angolans building.

Along the grandest shopping boulevard in the capital, Lisbon, Angolas elite buy designer suits and handbags by the
armful. And on one corner, above Louis Vuitton, sits the local office of Africas richest woman, Isabel dos Santos, a
billionaire from Angola who has become one of Portugals most powerful figures by buying large chunks of the countrys
banking, media and energy industries.

The money flowing into Portugal comes from the colony it dominated, often brutally, for hundreds of years, Angola.
Now, the African nation is a major oil producer that has been led for the last 38 years by Ms. dos Santoss father, President
Jos Eduardo dos Santos.

Angolas ruling class has profited so much during his tenure and channeled so much of that money into Portugal
that when Angola threatened to cut off ties in recent years in response to reports that Angolan officials were being
investigated for corruption in Portugal, Portugals foreign minister promptly apologized, setting off an intercontinental
debate about the changing power dynamics between the nations.

We had it in our heads that Angola was a poor country that needed to be helped, said Celso Felipe, a Portuguese
journalist and author of the book The Angolan Power in Portugal.

And suddenly they were able to help us and to buy things that we cannot buy, he said. It was like a housekeeper buying
your house. That is awkward.

The conditions in both countries created a perfect match: As Portugal reeled from a financial crisis a few years ago,
Angolans were enjoying an oil boom that provided enormous opportunities for self-enrichment by the elite, particularly
the presidents family and inner circle.

Angola is often listed as one of the worlds most corrupt nations. And Portugal has been singled out for its laxness in
reining in money laundering and bribery, particularly in its dealings with Angolans, according to the Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development, the research and policy organization of the worlds richest countries.

In Angola, they call Portugal the laundromat, said Ana Gomes, a Portuguese lawmaker in the European Parliament
and a member of Portugals governing Socialist Party. Its because it is.

But the two nations relationship has now slipped into a tense and fluid period. Oil prices are down and Portugals
economy is reviving, leading to a tweaking in the balance of powers between the two countries. And Mr. dos Santos is due
to step down after Angolans elect a new president on Wednesday, leaving the future of those who have benefited from his
four decades in power both in Angola and in Portugal unclear.

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23/08/2017 Portugal Dominated Angola for Centuries. Now the Roles Are Reversed. - The New York Times

In a case that has angered the Angolan government, Angolas vice president, Manuel Vicente, was charged in February
with paying a $810,000 bribe to a Portuguese judge to quash a corruption investigation, the furthest an Angola-related
case has moved in Portugals judicial system. The vice president was accused of, among other things, laundering money by
buying apartments in the Angolans building on the coast of Cascais. He has denied the allegations.

With billions invested in Portugal, including in some of its biggest public companies, the Angolans have bought
Portuguese wineries, newspapers, sports teams and other trophies of the super rich. With Portugal giving them access to
the rest of Europe and beyond, they have been catapulted, in a few short years, to the worlds jet set.

Projecting both glamour and gravitas, Ms. dos Santos, worth $3.5 billion according to Forbes, mingles with
Hollywood and European celebrities, and recently gave a speech at the London School of Economics all of which she has
documented on her Instagram account.

In the past two years, her family has made a splash at the Cannes Film Festival: Ms. dos Santos sat in the front row of
fashion shows, and Kim Kardashian cooed over a 404-carat diamond paraded at a party thrown last year by de Grisogono,
the Swiss jeweler now owned by the dos Santos family.

Thought Id seen it all, this is the biggest diamond Ive ever seen, Ms. Kardashian tweeted.

Ms. dos Santos was upstaged this year at Cannes only by her younger half brother, Danilo dos Santos, who was
recently granted major shares in a new Angolan bank, according to the Angolan news media as well as politicians and
businessmen in Luanda, Angolas capital. At a charity auction, Mr. dos Santos, who is in his mid-20s, made the winning
bid of 500,000 euros, or about $590,000, for a collection of photographs.

In the next few hours, as video of the auction spread on social media, his spending caused widespread outrage in
Angola, where poor health care contributed to a yellow fever outbreak that killed more than 350 people last year.

9 But in the moment, basking in the applause, Mr. dos Santos and a companion walked up to the stage and were hugged
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by the M.C., the star Will Smith, who shouted, 500,000 euros! Yes, yes, yes!
ARTICLES REMAINING

Mr. Smith added, They look way too young to have 500,000 euros.

Scrutiny Over Investments


Angola had been at war fighting for independence from Portugal, which came in 1975, and then locked in a civil war
for four decades by the time peace finally arrived in 2002. Peace coincided with an extended oil boom that eventually
propelled Angola, with only 25 million people, to become one of the top 20 oil producers in the world.

It was an extraordinary turnaround for a country that had been dominated for centuries by Portugal, which exploited
Angola for the slave trade and its natural resources, before falling into a long and costly civil war fueled by the Cold War.

But the oil boom disproportionately benefited Angolas governing elite, who moved enormous sums abroad. Between
2002 and 2015, Angolan companies and individuals poured $189 billion outside the country into often opaque
investments, according to the Catholic University of Angolas Center for Studies and Scientific Research in Luanda.

Inside Angola, one of the worlds most unequal societies, half of the working population lives on less than $3.10 a day.

Meanwhile, its former colonial ruler, Portugal, suffered from a financial crisis that forced it to obtain a $111 billion
bailout from international creditors and downgraded its national debt, rated junk to this day. Portugal was desperate for
investment.

Antnio Monteiro, a former foreign minister of Portugal and the chairman of the countrys largest private bank,
Millennium BCP, said that investments from Angola had helped many Portuguese companies survive, including his bank.

It was an investor that was very welcome and, in certain moments, the only investor in Portugal, he said.

The problem was how the money was obtained.

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23/08/2017 Portugal Dominated Angola for Centuries. Now the Roles Are Reversed. - The New York Times

Politicians and businesspeople in both countries say that Angola is dominated by allies of the president with tentacles
in every corner of the economy, allowing them to amass great fortunes in politically connected deals under mysterious
circumstances.

As Angolas ruling elite sought to safeguard its wealth outside their country knowing that Mr. dos Santoss rule
would eventually end Portugals political and business elite more than obliged.

If Angola was the front office of corruption, Portugal was the back office, said Joo Batalha, the president of the
Portuguese chapter of Transparency International.

In a scathing report, the O.E.C.D.s working group on bribery said that Portugals enforcement of the foreign bribery
offense has been extremely low pointing out that cases involving Angola accounted for a third of all such bribery
allegations against Portuguese firms. In a March report on money laundering and financial crimes, the United States State
Department said, Suspect funds from Angola are used to purchase Portuguese businesses and real estate.

Portugals foreign minister, Augusto Santos Silva, said that the Portuguese judicial system investigated illicit
investments without political interference. He said it had been a mistake for one of his predecessors, responding to news
media reports that high-ranking Angolans were being investigated in Portugal, to visit Angola and apologetically take the
Angolans side.

Still, Mr. Silva said that Angolas growing power was a positive development. Unequal postcolonial relations, he said,
would carry the flavor of neocolonialism.

Portuguese business leaders say that Angolan investments unfairly attract the kind of scrutiny that money from
elsewhere, including China, does not.

Luis Mra Amaral who until last year was chief executive of Banco Bic Portugal, a bank whose biggest shareholder is
Isabel dos Santos said that in Angola and some other African states, the same individuals tended to be both political and
business leaders.

Its not realistic that a small country like Portugal would be able to change that, said Mr. Amaral, a former
Portuguese minister of industry and energy.

Mr. Amaral said that all Angolans had to justify the money they put into Portuguese banks by showing assets in
Angola, to help prevent money laundering.

When I see Isabel dos Santos putting money into Portugal because she has a number of big companies in Angola, he
said, pointing to her big stake in Unitel, Angolas biggest cellphone operator, it is easy to justify.

After, you can put another question: how she was able to create this company, Mr. Amaral added with a laugh. Its
another question. Its not my problem as a banking manager.

Jewels, Phones and Banking


On her Twitter account, Ms. dos Santos identifies herself with just one word: entrepreneur.

Helped by public relations officials in Lisbon, Ms. dos Santos has put forward an image of herself as a self-made
businesswoman. In a 2013 interview, she told the Financial Times that she had had business sense from a young age and
sold chicken eggs when she was just 6.

In a written reply to emailed questions, Ms. dos Santos told The New York Times that the egg anecdote was meant to
show that since a young age I had an entrepreneurial spirit.

But in Angola, the story about the eggs fueled widespread ridicule and anger.

Asked whether it was possible that Ms. dos Santoss fortune was self-made, Marcolino Moco, a former prime minister
of Angola, said, Its possible to make us laugh. All her wealth comes from the fact that her father is the law.

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23/08/2017 Portugal Dominated Angola for Centuries. Now the Roles Are Reversed. - The New York Times

The oldest child of Angolas president, Ms. dos Santos, 44, has gained large or controlling shares in Angolas diamond,
cellphone, banking and other industries over the years.

In her email, Ms. dos Santos said that, beginning in the early 1990s, she had started a small beverage distribution
and logistics business, as well as a restaurant, an event production company and a walkie-talkie business.

Ms. dos Santos did not say where she had obtained the capital to invest in those businesses or in Unitel, which she
now controls. She has also acquired big stakes in Portugals banks, the Portuguese energy giant Galp, the Portuguese
telecommunications company NOS, and other businesses.

In 2015, Transparency International included Ms. dos Santos on a list of 15 cases that symbolized grand corruption.
She responded by saying that her investments were transparent.

Last year, her father appointed her chief executive of Sonangol, the state oil company that the president has used over
the decades to further political and business interests. A group of lawyers has tried unsuccessfully to remove Ms. dos
Santos from her post, arguing that she, with no management track record or experience in the oil industry, was appointed
by her father to erase evidence of her fathers embezzlement at Sonangol before he steps down.

Rui Amendoeira, a partner at Vieira de Almeida, a Lisbon law firm hired by Ms. dos Santos to help run the oil
company, said he had no comment on the case or on Ms. dos Santos.

Her appointment as head of the state oil company gave Ms. dos Santos another platform internationally. In March,
she was a speaker at the annual CERAWeek energy conference in Houston. In April, she spoke about being an
entrepreneur at the London Business School.

Ms. dos Santoss critics say she has tried to gain respectability in the West by using her ill-gotten gains in Angola and
laundering them in Portugal an accusation she rejects.

In my book respectability is not achieved by mingling with the right people, she said in an email. In my book
respectability is something you gain and achieve through a lifetime of work, and actions worthy of esteem, coherent
positive behavior, attitudes of good social standing and building a reputation with your friends and peers.

A Continuing Inquiry
Respectability, some Angolans have found, can be acquired in Portugal and lost.

lvaro Sobrinho, the former chief executive of Banco Esprito Santo Angola, was born in Angola and now lives in
Portugal, holding dual citizenship. In Portugal, he became the major shareholder in Sporting Lisbon, a major soccer team,
and also bought two newspapers.

But he was eventually investigated by the Portuguese authorities for his role in the bank, the Angolan subsidiary of
Portugals Banco Esprito Santo, which he headed for a decade until 2012. The bank was accused of misappropriating $5.7
billion by giving out loans to the political elite and to Mr. Sobrinho himself that were never repaid. Mr. Sobrinho has
denied all accusations and has not been charged despite the long investigation.

But he is now regarded as a thief in Portugal, he said. He has sold off his newspapers. He said he had at least
recovered his assets, which the Portuguese authorities had frozen for a few years. A court reaffirmed in May that the state
cannot seize his assets, but prosecutors say that Mr. Sobrinho is still being investigated.

His assets include six apartments he owns with his family in Estoril Sol Residence in Cascais, the Angolans
building. Brazilians, Russians and Portuguese, including some who made money doing business in Angola, also owned
apartments but were never investigated for money laundering, he said.

Only Angolans, Mr. Sobrinho said, with bitterness.

The resentment, though, did not detract from his enjoyment of his apartments (very beautiful, you can see the sea)
or of Cascais (an amazing place).

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23/08/2017 Portugal Dominated Angola for Centuries. Now the Roles Are Reversed. - The New York Times

The king used to live there, he added.

Correction: August 22, 2017


An earlier version of this article misstated when Kim Kardashian tweeted about a 404-carat diamond. It was in 2016, not this
year.
Paulo Guilherme Figueiredo contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on August 22, 2017, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: As Colonizer Flounders, Angola
Flaunts Riches.

2017 The New York Times Company

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