Ex-BES Angola president stashed €188 million in Switzerland

 In Angola, Justice, News

The former president of BES Angola, Álvaro Sobrinho stashed over €188 million in the Swiss wealth management company Akoya in which he was a shareholder.

According to Correio da Manhã, the banker deposited his fortune in 27 different Swiss bank accounts at the end of April 2012. The revelation has arisen in a report from the State’s tax authorities as part of the Monte Branco inquiry in which three Akoya directors are legal suspects.
The tax authorities investigated documents with the names of banks, bank account numbers, beneficiaries, account holders and the balance in each account. In these bank accounts Sobrinho allegedly controlled offshore companies such as Grunberg Investments, Pineview Overseas and Oralcom.
Álvaro Sobrinho is under investigation as part of Court process Nº244/11 in which he is a legal defendant and was also involved in the Monte Branco Inquiry.
Monte Branco was one of the largest money laundering and tax fraud networks ever detected in Portugal, based at the Montenegro Chaves currency exchange in Lisbon.
The prosecution’s case focused on the list of Francisco Canas’ customers (he has since died) at his money exchange shop in Lisbon. Canas acted as an intermediary for three former UBS managers, who sent funds abroad via the wealth management company, Akoya.
Among the clients were Duarte Lima, who had been charged with fraud and murder in other cases, a former Benfica president Manuel Vilarinho and José Carlos Gonçalves, a builder.
Francisco Canas would use his accounts at BPN Cape Verde and BCP in Portugal to shuffle his clients’ money between Portugal and Switzerland. Some clients travelled to the money exchange outlet in Lisbon’s Baixa area with bags of cash to be laundered.
The wealth management company Akoya involved in this large scale money laundering operation was owned 22.5% each by old friends of Álvaro Sobrinho and by ESCOM director, Hélder Bataglia who eventually would go on to incriminate BES boss Ricardo Salgado.
Failed banker, Ricardo Salgado, was one of Akoya’s clients but was left off the Monte Branco list of the accused as his money laundering activities are included in another fraud case Operation Marques in which he is the main suspect and whose lawyers are trying to avoid his standing trial on the grounds of dementia.
The first arrests had been made on May 18, 2012, when former UBS managers Michel Canals, José Pinto and Nicolas Figueiredo were apprehended in Porto where they were to take part in a golf tournament. The operation had involved the GNR police and the tax inspectorates of Porto and Braga, but after years the case has yet to be concluded.