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Portugal to try Angolan VP on corruption charges

Portugal to try Angolan VP on corruption charges

Angolan vice-president Manuel Vicente is set to stand trial in Portugal on corruption charges, Portugal's main news agency Lusa, reported on Wednesday.

Vicente is alleged to have bribed a magistrate to drop two investigations against him. The charges stretch back to the time when Vicente was president of Sonangol, Angola's national oil company.

The Portuguese public prosecutor's office is accusing Vicente of being involved with bribery, money laundering and document falsification.

Former Portuguese prosecutor Orlando Figueira, who was arrested in 2016, has also been ordered to stand trial on suspicion of receiving money from Vicente.

Portuguese media are reporting that Figueira received $800 000 to bury cases involving the Angolan vice-president.

In addition, Figueira also faces charges of accepting bribes, document falsification, money laundering and breaching the confidentiality of an official investigation. One of the investigations he is believed to have accepted a bribe to drop involved the origin of funds Vicente used to buy a luxury apartment in Lisbon.

Vicente was widely to tipped to succeed Jose Eduardo Dos Santos as president before news of the allegations broke last year. Dos Santos has led the large diamond- and oil-rich southwestern African country since 1979.

A previous attempt by Portugal in 2012 to investigate alleged money laundering and tax evasion by Angolan officials led to diplomatic relations between the two countries, which have very strong economic ties, decidedly cooling off.

Portuguese companies have a visible presence in banking and construction in Angola, while Portugal is Angola's main source of imports.

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