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The Rise and Fall of a Forbes Billionaire

Eight years ago, Forbes declared Isabel dos Santos the richest woman in Africa, worth an estimated $3.5 billion. The daughter of Angola’s longtime former president grew immensely wealthy in a textbook case of how to loot a country. Now, with her father out of office, her empire is a shadow of what it once was, with corruption charges levied against her by her country, assets frozen by courts in three different nations and a lawsuit claiming hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid debt in a fourth country. “Forbes assumes she has no access and likely little chance to gain back control of the frozen assets—together worth about $1.6 billion if not frozen—so we give her no value for them and by our calculations she is no longer a billionaire. As a result, Forbes has dropped Dos Santos, who was worth an estimated $2.2 billion in January 2020, from our newly released 2021 list of Africa’s richest people.” The onetime African “princess” is by no means a pauper. She’s reported to have a home on a private island in Dubai, another residence in London and a $35 million yacht. She likely has bank accounts and assets that Forbes and legal authorities have yet to track. She is said to be splitting her time between Dubai—where her husband, Sindika Dokolo, died in a diving accident in October—and London, where Dokolo’s funeral was held in November at Westminster Cathedral.

SOURCE: FORBES AFRICA