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Angola seizes AAA assets, hotel chains linked to Businessman de Sao Vicente

LONDON, (The Southern African Times) – Angola’s attorney general has seized buildings and hotels belonging to AAA, a company associated with Carlos Manuel de São Vicente whose $900 million fortune has been frozen by Swiss authorities, state broadcaster TPA reported on Tuesday.

De São Vicente was a key figure in Angola’s oil industry, heading a group of companies, including AAA Seguros, which sold insurance and reinsurance contracts to state oil company Sonangol.

An Angolan presidential decree revoked AAA’s insurance role over the oil industry in 2016, citing its “allegedly non-transparent management”.

The Geneva lawyer representing de São Vicente said last week that he denies any wrongdoing. His wife, who is a daughter of Angola’s former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos and an ex-deputy minister in the ruling MPLA party, said in a statement to Reuters he would be proved innocent.

“The Angolan attorney general’s office has initiated an investigation process related to evidence of crimes of embezzlement, conspiracy in economic activity, influence peddling and money-laundering,” a TPA presenter said.

“It has decided to seize AAA buildings, IU and IKA hotels located throughout the country,” she added.

AAA was not immediately available for comment on the report.

Switzerland froze $900 million held in accounts belonging to de São Vicente in 2018 in a money-laundering investigation, court documents seen by Reuters show, marking one of the largest freezes of personal assets in Swiss history.

An online company profile posted by AAA Activos LDA, which lists de São Vicente as an official contact, said it holds more than $1.4 billion in assets and owns 86 buildings, including one belonging to the IKA hotel chain and 12 to IU hotels. 

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