Information leaked in the Paradise Papers states that the businessman placed in charge of managing Angola’s oil wealth received a tidy sum for his hard work. The Papers state that he was given close to $41m, and that the entire sum was passed over in just 20 months.
The payments have raised the hackles of many companies, all of whom are furious that the entrepreneur could have taken advantage of the African state.
The entrepreneur in question, Jean-Claude Bastos, is also sometimes known as Jean-Claude Bastos de Moris. Bastos is a Swiss-Angolan and was given the cushy position on account of his proximity to the former president’s son. His position was supported by the President at the time, Eduardo dos Santos, and his son, Jose Filomeno.
Jose Filomeno was chosen to lead the Fundo Soberano De Angola (FSDEA), a decision which resulted in the appointment of his friend Jean-Claude Bastos as well.
Reports state that the payments were made via a network of companies. These companies all appear to have their foundations in Mauritius. This was a relatively surreptitious move on the entrepreneur’s part, since Mauritius is an offshore site, and does not fall under Angola’s jurisdiction.
Sources state that Bastos used his position at the FSDEA to maneuver large investment deals which would result in greater personal profits.
However, all sides involved in the proceedings deny any form of wrong doing.
Angola’s problem with corruption is not unknown. Like other oil-based nations, Angola too has invested in a sovereign wealth fund. The fund was created so that the country could invest proceeds from its natural resource wealth in it.
However, unlike other countries, Angola did not allocate the management power of the fund to a board of directors. Instead, it allowed Bastos to assume full control of the fund’s management.
This in turn resulted in the fund paying Bastos’s Mauritius based-QG Investments Africa Management over $90m in fees, over a 20 month period.
The ‘fees’ paid to Bastos’ firm were further divided. The firm declared that $41m of the original amount was pure profit, and deposited this amount in the British Virgin Islands.
Additionally, $34m was paid in what was noted as advisory fees to a Swiss firm, which was again owned by Bastos. The remaining amount was retained by QG Investments Africa Management.
Bastos’ heretofore undetected exploitation is just another unsavory stone that has been overturned in the avalanche set forth by the Paradise Papers leak.