Europe's role in the Luanda Leaks scandal

Isabel dos Santos, daughter of former president of Angola José Eduardo dos Santos and the richest woman in Africa, is under investigation on charges of nepotism, corruption and money laundering. The entrepreneur's accounts were frozen in December and now further revelations about dubious transactions have come to light in what has been dubbed the Luanda Leaks scandal. European media point to dos Santos' willing partners in Europe as part of the problem.

Open/close all quotes
Público (PT) /

Crisis country Portugal can't be picky

For Angola's former colonial power Portugal Isabel dos Santos' money came in handy, Público notes:

“No breaking of laws could be proven, but it was not difficult to guess that the origin of the capital violated the transparency criteria required in democratic countries where the rule of law prevails. Isabel dos Santos used this tolerance to buy, sell and strengthen her power and status. ... Isabel dos Santos was a kind of diva in Portuguese business because she had money in a country on the verge of bankruptcy. ... That is the great lesson to be learned from this story with an uncertain ending: the country's financial fragility has opened the doors to all kinds of nightmares. It has once again been proven that a poor country can never be picky.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Enough of opportunism!

Dutch companies have also been implicated in the scandal. De Volkskrant concludes that once again it is becoming clear that companies, and also states, are only too happy to suppress their sermons for the sake of lucrative business:

“Such cases hardly ever lead to prosecution. Corruption, tax avoidance and human rights violations in foreign economic activities are not a priority for Dutch investigators. Until recently, tax avoidance via Dutch letterbox companies was even considered an important business sector in the Netherlands. This opportunistic approach must end. The dubious businesses keep the spiral of enrichment, corruption and lopsided power relations in poor countries going.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Europe must side with the poor

Europe always talks about standing up for Africa's young people but it continues to support the continent's dictators, the Süddeutsche Zeitung criticises:

“Yes, German banks secure exports. However, when a German state bank indirectly gives the president's daughter Isabel dos Santos a loan [as the export development bank KfW Ipex did for the purchase of brewing equipment from Bavaria], this runs counter to everything German foreign policy stands for. And the International Monetary Fund is no better. It has just granted a loan to Equatorial Guinea, the most perverted kleptocracy on the continent. That amounts to funding the looting of the country by a decades-old ruling dynasty, which is building six-lane motorways in the capital to race around in luxury cars while the rest of the country's citizens starve. Europe must side with the hungry.”

Polityka (PL) /

A sadly banal affair

The Luanda Leaks only confirm the obvious, says Polityka:

“If the reporters are right, the story is painfully banal. This is not the first and probably not the last time that the dictator of a country rich in natural resources - in this case oil and diamonds - arranges things so that the proceeds from the exploitation of simple citizens flow into the accounts of the autocratic family. ... To be honest, it doesn't take dozens of investigative reporters to realise that something is wrong when the daughter of the president of a poor country is extremely rich and most of her compatriots are poor; poor in the African version, without social support.”