Angola's former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Picture: REUTERS
Angola's former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Picture: REUTERS

Angola’s state prosecutor arrested the son of former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos over the alleged illegal transfer of $500m from state coffers to a Swiss bank account.

Jose Filomeno dos Santos’s detention marks the latest step by President Joao Lourenco to tackle graft and dismantle the influence of his predecessor, whose four-decade rule left Angola one of the world’s most corrupt nations. Since coming to power in September, Lourenco has dismissed Dos Santos’s daughter, Isabel, as chair of state oil producer Sonangol and fired Jose Filomeno as head of the country’s $5bn sovereign wealth fund.

Jose Filomeno, who is accused of crimes related to his management of the fund including money laundering, has been placed under preventive detention, the state prosecutor’s office said in a statement e-mailed on Monday from the capital, Luanda. His friend and business partner, Jean Claude Bastos de Morais, also was arrested on similar charges, it said.

“The evidence gathered resulted in sufficient indications that the defendants have been involved in practices of various crimes including criminal associations, receipt of undue advantage, corruption, participation in unlawful business, money laundering, embezzlement, fraud among others,” the office said.

Calls to Jose Filomeno’s lawyer, Benja Satula, did not go through when Bloomberg sought comment. Calls to Bastos de Morais’s office were not answered.

Jose Filomeno was charged in March with fraud over the alleged illegal transfer. He said at the time he would co-operate with the authorities.

Last week, Angolan authorities arrested former transport minister Augusto da Silva Tomas over alleged embezzlement and misappropriation of funds, state-owned Televisao Publica de Angola reported on September 21, citing a statement from the state prosecutor.