Allegations of financial misconduct brought against Dr Álvaro Sobrinho, the prominent Angolan banking and investor, have been dismissed this week in Lisbon, Portugal.
The allegations of financial misconduct headlined by the newspaper ‘Expresso’ in Portugal in June 2014, accused Sobrinho of improper use of funds during his tenure as Chief Executive Officer of Banco Espirito Santo Angola (BESA), a subsidiary of the failed Banco Espirito Santo banking group. The same newspaper had previously brought allegations against Sobrinho that were also dismissed by a court in 2012.
“Expresso claims that $5.7bn USD ‘disappeared’ from BESA, which is the equivalent of 95% of the total credit portfolio. It is ludicrous. Furthermore, they allege that withdrawals of over $500m were made from BESA. Not even American Banks have that amount of cash available. It is a ridiculous assumption”, Sobrinho told a Parliamentary hearing investigating the collapse of Banco Espirito Santo in December 2014, which drew to a close this month.
Portuguese authorities have rejected bringing any formal charges due to lack of evidence against Sobrinho, who is now seeking damages in multiple jurisdictions from the newspaper group Impresa, which owns Expresso, regarding their false claims of financial misconduct.
“This case again represents a wider problem for African investors and business figures dealing in Europe, where there are still some fundamental misunderstandings about business practices across borders”, said one source that works with businesses across Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.
Source: APO (African Press Organization)