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Angola's Isabel dos Santos loses control of Unitel stake

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Isabel dos Santos may be Africa's richest woman but she's just lost another legal battle, this time in the British Virgin Islands.

The Angolan businesswoman targeted in the "Luanda leaks" owned 25% of Unitel, Angola's telecommunications operator, which was registered under Vidatel in the British Virgin Islands.

According to a statement by PT Ventures, the supreme court decided, on 19 November, following a lawsuit, to set up judicial administrators for the management of specific assets of Vidatel, Limited, one of Isabel dos Santos's companies registered in the Virgin Islands, transferring to the management all bank accounts held and/or controlled by Vidatel.

The directors will also now control the 25% participation, including the rights inherent to such participation.

The Paris Arbitration Court ordered the "founding shareholders" of that telecommunications company to pay PT Ventures two indemnities totalling 654.2 million dollars (568.8 million euros).

The decision was disclosed at the time by Unitel, according to which the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) ordered the company to pay compensation of US$339.4 million (295.1 million euros) and US$314.8 million (273.7 million euros).

Meanwhile, Unitel began legal proceedings in London last month against Unitel International Holdings (UIH), owned by Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos, to recover a debt of over 350 million euros.

Dos Santos has been accused of embezzlement and money laundering by prosecutors in Angola.

Leaked documents showed how she got access to lucrative land, oil, diamond and telecoms deals when her father was president. They also show how Western firms helped her take her money out of Angola.

She has denied the accusations and alleged corruption revealed by leaked documents. Her fortune is believed to be $2.1 bn.

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