Pandora Papers sheds new light on corruption by Angolan political elites, two years after Luanda Leaks

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Welcome back!

This week marks two years since ICIJ and 36 media partners published the Luanda Leaks investigation — exposing how two decades of insider deals turned Isabel dos Santos into Africa’s wealthiest woman and left oil- and diamond-rich Angola one of the poorest countries on earth.

The billionaire and her business empire have been in a tailspin ever since. Just last month, dos Santos was sanctioned by the U.S. alongside other Angolan elites close to her father, former longtime authoritarian president José Eduardo dos Santos.

But the web of corruption around the dos Santos family is still being untangled — and ICIJ reporters continue to bring their secret dealings to light.

Will Fitzgibbon scoured the Pandora Papers and uncovered 20 more offshore companies linked to powerful Angolan political figures accused of embezzling billions of dollars. They include two generals allied with President dos Santos who were also barred by the U.S. government.

The officials and their family members owned offshore companies and bank accounts in Delaware, Panama, the British Virgin Islands, Portugal and Dubai, leaked records show.

“Bringing kleptocrats’ shady deals to light is key to defending human rights,” Karina Carvalho of Transparency International in Portugal told ICIJ. Carvalho applauded the sanctions and called for accountability for jurisdictions that enable illicit financial flows.

“The impact of positive actions like this one will always be limited without a global pact to stop tax havens and the use of shell companies,” she said.

We talk to ICIJ member Malek Khadhraoui, founder of the Tunisian investigative outlet Inkyfada, about how his newsroom’s unique business model allows it to tackle under-covered or taboo topics amid political upheaval in the region in the latest episode of the Meet the Investigators podcast.

ICIJ’s Pandora Papers investigation was honored with a 2022 ethics prize by ANTICOR, a French organization that advocates against corruption.

Thanks for reading!

Asraa Mustufa

ICIJ's digital editor

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