BREAKING/Angola ‘blood diamonds’ dictator’s son is a client of Pilatus Bank, Malta

Published: April 24, 2017 at 6:31pm

José Eduardo Paulino dos Santos, 32, whose father – also called José Eduardo dos Santos – has been the dictator of Angola since 1979, is a client of Pilatus Bank, the money-laundering operation set up in 2015 with a banking licence from the Malta Financial Services Authority.

Seyed Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, an Iranian who travels on a St Kitts & Nevis passport acquired through Henley & Partners in 2009, was just 32 when he applied for a banking licence from the MFSA in December 2013.

Pilatus Bank is now at the centre of an exploding scandal after the discovery that it was set up as a money-laundering operation for millions of euros in funds held by some of Azerbaijan’s most powerful names, including the son and daughter of that country’s dictator, Heydar Aliyev and Leyla Aliyeva, and its Minister for Emergy Situations, Kamaladdin Heydarov, the second most powerful man in Azerbaijan after the dictator himself.

The Panama companies at the epicentre of this spiralling story involving the Prime Minister, his wife Michelle, his cabinet minister Konrad Mizzi, his wife Sai, and his chief of staff Keith Schembri – Tillgate Inc, Hearnville Inc and Egrant Inc – also hold accounts at Pilatus Bank, besides accounts at a bank in Dubai to which payments are made from Al Sahra FZCO’s account at Pilatus. Leyla Aliyeva is the ultimate beneficial owner of Al Sahra.

Maltese PEPs who hold accounts at the bank in their personal names include the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri, and disgraced former European Commissioner John Dalli, a close associate of Malta Financial Services Authority chairman Joe Bannister.

José dos Santos, who was born in Angola but has lived in Portugal since childhood after his parents split up, is a singer who uses the professional name Coréon Dú.

Portuguese lawyers working for dos Santos had also approached Sata Bank – a private bank owned by a Bulgarian citizen which, like Pilatus Bank, was set up after the Labour Party came to power in 2013 – to have an account opened there for him. This website has no information on whether that attempt succeeded.

Early in 2016, those Portuguese lawyers made arrangements with Pilatus Bank to open an account for a company incorporated in Portugal. A few weeks after the account was opened, two representatives of that firm travelled to Malta and held a meeting at Pilatus, informing the bank that the company’s shares had now been sold to José dos Santos of Angola. Instead of closing the account, the bank’s CEO told them it would not be a problem.

José dos Santos’s half-sister (they have different mothers) Isabel dos Santos is on the Forbes list as the richest woman in Africa, with a net worth calculated at around $3 billion. She was born in Baku, Azerbaijan to José Eduardo dos Santos and his first wife, the Russian-born Tatiana Kukanova, who he met while studying in Azerbaijan in the early 1970s. Much of the family’s wealth comes from corruption, plundering the African state’s natural resources, and ‘blood’ diamonds.

You have some background reading here and also here.

Jose dos Santos, known by his stage name Coreon Du

Jose Eduardo dos Santos, dictator of Angola since 1979.