OpEd: ‘Isabel dos Santos has not Committed any Crime in Portugal’
By Antonio Moita
Turning heroes into villains is a task that the media and commentators take on with a special taste. Those who were deified yesterday are demonized today by exactly the same people. We have the recent case of the daughter of former Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos.
In order to register interests, I must inform you that the closest relationship I have with Isabel dos Santos results from the fact that I myself iI am her client. Let us be aware that the proximity is not too great. And here I have no special criticism to point out. Her other relevant interests in Portuguese companies are in the public domain in such important sectors as banking, telecommunications or industry.
To the best of our knowledge, over the past few years, no doubts or suspicion have ever been raised by the competent authorities as to the source of the money invested or the legality of the transactions.
For those who seek to inform about what is going on in the national economic life, it is not possible to forget the repeated compliments and advantages that everyone recognized with respect to the entry of foreign investment into Portugal whether it be Chinese, Brazilian or Angolan. In the latter case, and for a long time, it was well noted the applause with which her investment in many sectors such as banks were received with special emphasis on Isabel dos Santos. Wherever she entered, the way of salvation was found.
Many journalists and most commentators, whether wearing a bow tie or tie, were at the forefront of defending Isabel dos Santos’s presence in Portugal, highlighting even her successful academic and professional career and the autonomy she maintained over her father. One thing was the Angolan state; another, quite different, would be the investments and management capacity of this great Angolan businesswoman.
And behind this were several presidents,from the republic, from municipal councils, from large companies, from business associations, prime ministers and holders of many portfolios in various governments, across almost all of Portuguese society. The pressures to join official entourages were normal and the “facilitators” of business with the Angolan nomenclature were in great demand.
“Times change, wills change”, sang José Mário Branco with all the property. Now it seems that everyone knew that the origin of the money was not commendable, that the abuses of power in Angola were recurring and intolerable, that Isabel dos Santos acted as the family’s “iron brow” and so many other endless patriarchies.
And the top commentators can talk about it without shame. Lack of memory and shame.
They say money has no color and business has no ethics. But it is good to understand that knowing the origin of funds and business ethics are fundamental conditions to ensure the solidity and continuity of an economic activity. Overcoming steps with obscure expedients always comes at a high price. Sooner or later.
To our knowledge, Isabel dos Santos has not committed any crime in Portugal. She has invested in national companies and contributed to the success of projects and the creation and maintenance of many jobs. She should therefore be treated with respect due to any foreign investor.
And let us not forget, as the chorus of the song quoted above said, that “if the whole world is made up of change, let us exchange the twists that the day is still a child.”
*The original article can be read here-https://www.jornaldenegocios.pt/opiniao/colunistas/antonio-moita/amp/isabel-a-terrivel?