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Investigators allege $750 million skimmed from Angola, Russia debt deal

President Eduardo dos Santos has ruled Angola for 33 years (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)At least $750 million intended to repay debt from Angola’s civil war went instead to Russian arms dealers, shell companies in Panama, and crooked politicians, according to a new investigation by Corruption Watch UK and an association of Angolan human rights lawyers known as Maos Livres.

The allegations, backed by 44 exhibits, show a money trail through a Swiss bank that leads to Russian and French arms dealers who allegedly siphoned $263 million, and $36 million to Angola’s long-time ruler, President Eduardo dos Santos.

Some money allegedly went to three other Angolan officials and a former Russian legislator. About $400 million can’t be traced, the report said.

The $750 million was intended to repay a $1.5 billion debt to Russia incurred during Angola’s civil war. Instead of going to the Russian treasury, the money went to private parties, mostly Russian and French arms dealers, the report said.

The EU and member countries are reviewing the report and its exhibits, which show names and details about banks and shell companies in offshore jurisdictions used in the money-skimming operation.

Forbes magazine in March identified Africa’s first woman billionaire as Isabel dos Santos, the 40-year-old businesswoman daughter of Angola’s leader. Worth an estimated $2 billion, Forbes lists her as the only black female billionaire besides Oprah Winfrey,’ the AP said.

‘Eighty-seven percent of Angola’s urban population lives in shanty towns, most without access to clean water, and only 38 percent living in rural areas have an improved water sources, according to UNICEF and the World Bank,’ the AP said.

The full report, Deception in High Places: The Corrupt Angola-Russia Debt Deal, can be viewed and downloaded in multiple languages here.

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