Angolan VP charged with corruption in Portugal

Angolan Vice President, Manuel Vicente
Angolan Vice President, Manuel Vicente

Angolan Vice President, Manuel Vicente, has been charged with corruption and money laundering in Portugal, the Prosecutor General’s office in Lisbon said on Thursday in a statement.

The office stated that Vicente, seen as possible successor to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, bribed a magistrate when he was chief executive of state oil company — Sonangol.

President Santos has been in power since 1979 and intends to retire next year.

A former prosecutor, Orlando Figueira, who was arrested a year ago, had been charged with receiving 760,000 euros bribe (810,000 dollars) to shelve an investigation into Mr. Vicente’s dealings in Portugal before he became vice president.

The Angolan vice president’s office had no immediate comment.

Angola had branded previous attempts by Portugal to investigate Mr. Vicente as “revenge by former colonial master” and “neo-colonialism”.

Two of Mr. Vicente’s legal and financial representatives, Paulo Blanco and Armindo Pires, both Portuguese, were also charged with corruption and money laundering for allegedly paying the bribe jointly with Mr. Vicente and arranging a job in a bank as a favour for Figueira.

The media was, however, unable to reach them for comment but the vice president’s office said “the former prosecutor ruled in favour of the chief executive of the Angolan company in two investigations, both of which were ultimately shelved by the prosecutor.”

Local media said the probe that was shelved in January 2012 focused on the origin of funds with which Vicente bought a luxury apartment in Lisbon.

(Reuters/NAN)


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