Rarely has a billionaire fallen so far, so fast. Less than a year after the Luanda Leaks investigation revealed how Isabel dos Santos took a cut of her nation’s wealth through epic-scale insider dealing to become Africa’s wealthiest woman, her business empire has crumbled.
The global business celebrity is now blocked from accessing hundreds of millions worth of assets and has been forced to cede control of multiple companies. She and her associates face investigations, seizures, and lawsuits around the world.
Reporter Will Fitzgibbon recaps how it happened and the impact on Angola’s ongoing anti-corruption movement. He also examines how the investigation affected the offshore industry, finding that the Western advisers, financial firms, lawyers, and accountants — who enabled her rise, profited from corruption, and helped make oil- and diamond-rich Angola one of the poorest countries on Earth — are back to work.
“These enablers bear a share of responsibility for the poor living conditions, even starvation and death, faced by millions of people,” says Karina Carvalho, the Angolan-born executive director of Transparency International in Portugal.