Quantum Global head Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais. Picture: SUPPLIED
Quantum Global head Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais. Picture: SUPPLIED

London — Angola’s $5bn sovereign wealth fund locked horns with Quantum Global, manager of $3bn of the fund’s assets, in the high court here on Tuesday, as the investment firm seeks to overturn an asset freeze the fund has obtained.

The Angolan sovereign fund, FSDEA, has taken the dispute to London, Switzerland and Mauritius as the new government seeks to sever ties with Quantum Global, a Swiss firm headed by Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais. Bastos is a long-term business partner of Jose Filomeno dos Santos, son of the former Angolan president.

New Angolan President Joao Lourenco removed Dos Santos from his position as head of the fund in January.

The fund also wants to remove Quantum Global as its asset manager, stating it was concerned about the firm’s approach as it was "not fully aligned" with the principles for which the fund was established.

The fund obtained a global asset-freeze order against Quantum Global in a UK court, covering funds held under its name or by contracted parties.

Quantum Global has denied wrongdoing, saying the money it has under management is properly accounted for, and that the fund has violated its long-term contractual obligations.

Legal representatives for Quantum Global said in court documents the fund board had approved the arrangements with the asset manager, which were "entirely transparent".

In documents setting out Bastos’s defence, lawyers argued that the fund was trying to get out of contractual arrangements by "running a tenuous fraud and conspiracy claim".

"Any attempt to characterise this as some sort of fraud dreamed up by [Dos Santos and Bastos] is highly implausible," Stephen Auld, a lawyer for Bastos, said in court.