Several media outlets have identified the Monaco property purchased by Isabel dos Santos and her husband in 2015 as being an entire floor of the Little Africa building within the Golden Square of Monte-Carlo. The purchase was made through a Maltese company called Athol.
The sixth floor cost more than 50 million euros – the price for a single apartment, composed of five main rooms: entrance hall, lounge – dining room opening onto a terrace to the south, guest cloakroom and water closet, library with cloakroom and shower room, master bedroom with bathroom and dressing room, two bedrooms, each with dressing room and bathroom, according to the sales contract dated December 22, 2015.
The apartment was sold with two service rooms to house domestic employees and four parking spaces. The contract forms part of the 715,000 documents contained in the so-called “Luanda Leaks”, the dossier put together by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists containing damning evidence of corruption and money-laundering by dos Santos, the daughter of the former president of Angola who ruled the impoverished African state for 38 years.
At the time of the sale, a number of international media outlets had already raised concerns about the source of dos Santos’ wealth.
The sale was notarised by the cabinet of Me Nathalie Aureglia-Caruso, who, according to RFI inherited the office from her father and grandfather.
A co-director of Athol Limited, Noël Buttigieg Scicluna, readily acknowledged on December 20, 2019, to be the director of a ‘number’ of companies of dos Santos and her husband “There is no complex structure and absolutely no attempt to conceal the ultimate beneficial ownership of Ms. dos Santos,” he said.
Fine Properties Monte-Carlo was the promoter of Little Africa, according to RFI. FPMC’s lawyer, Me Gérard Baudoux, expressed the view to RFI that it would be wrong to judge the transaction in 2015 in terms of facts that have since come to light. He added that FPMC appointed professionals to manage the “Little Africa” project, and that they were “wise professionals in charge of verifying the regularity, in all their aspects, of the transactions, conventions and acts contained.”
French magistrate Robert Ghelli, recently appointed director of the judicial services of the Principality, is a strong advocate of transparency and the fight against money laundering. Another Frenchman, Michel Hunault, in July, 2019, took over as the head of the Information and Control Service on Financial Circuits (SICCFIN) which is expected to become more active.
Meanwhile, the Government of Angola is seeking the return to the country of UK-educated dos Santos – whose wealth exceeds two billion dollars and who is believed to be living in London.
ORIGINAL SOURCES: International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, RFI, Teller Report, Times of Malta, Guardian, Times, Financial Times, local reports