A banker named in the investigation into the source of Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos’ wealth has died in Portugal in an apparent suicide.
Nuno Ribeiro da Cunha, the director of private banking at Portuguese lender Eurobic, was found dead at his house in Lisbon on Wednesday, Lusa news agency said today, citing a police source.
Ribeiro da Cunha managed the account of national oil firm Sonangol, which was formerly chaired by dos Santos.
A police source told Lusa that “everything points to suicide” in the banker’s death. He had tried to commit suicide earlier this month, police said.
Both dos Santos and Ribeiro da Cunha were named today as formal suspects by Angola’s public prosecutors in the case of alleged mismanagement and misappropriation of funds while dos Santos chaired Sonangol in 2016-2017.
An investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists alleged that dos Santos, daughter of the former President, had used her position to illegitimately amass vast wealth.
Angola’s chief prosecutor was quoted by Lusa as saying late yesterday, before travelling to Lisbon today, that his office sought dos Santos and other suspects “to voluntarily come to face justice”.
Failing that, his office would resort to legal instruments at its disposal, one being an international warrant.
In a statement, dos Santos denied wrongdoing and said she would “seek to clarify our position in relation to the latest accusations”.
Portugal’s market watchdog said today it had launched inquiries into various firms where dos Santos holds stakes.
Gabriela Figueiredo Dias, the head of Portugal’s market regulator CMVM, said it had launched inquiries earlier this week into oil company Galp Energia and telecoms firm NOS, and into unspecified auditing firms.
Galp declined to comment and a NOS spokesman said the company had no comment so far.
The mushrooming scandal has also enveloped Big Four auditor PwC which provided millions of dollars worth of services to dos Santos’ companies.
PwC chair Bob Moritz told reporters at the World Economic Conference at Davos that the debacle was the worst thing to have happened to the firm on his watch.
“We’ll look at the individual behaviours, as to whether they come out of leadership roles or have compensation implications, or maybe even [come] out of jobs,” Moritz said.
“We’ll wait for the investigation, I don’t want to rush. But we need to move with speed to take action to regain confidence.”
The firm said it was investigating and said it had cut off all ties with dos Santos and her companies.