May 29, 2018 / 12:53 PM / 10 months ago

Angola names Bastos as suspect in fund investigation, state newspaper reports

LUANDA, May 29 (Reuters) - Angolan prosecutors named Jean-Claude Bastos, the head of an asset manager hired by Angola’s sovereign wealth fund, as a suspect in a criminal investigation and banned him from leaving the country, Jornal de Angola reported on Tuesday.

The state newspaper did not specify what Bastos is being investigated for, and a spokesman for the prosecutor general’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Quantum Global, the firm hired by Angola’s wealth fund to invest money on its behalf, declined to comment on the move except to say that: “Quantum Global as well as Mr Bastos have been cooperating with the Angolan authorities over the course of the last few weeks and look to resolve this situation.”

Angola’s $5 billion sovereign wealth fund is embroiled in an increasingly global dispute with its former boss, Jose Filomeno dos Santos, the son of former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, and Swiss-based Quantum Global. Bastos, the head of Quantum Global, is a business partner of the younger dos Santos.

Angolan President João Lourenço has vowed to fight graft since taking power last September and has moved against the family of the former president, firing his daughter Isabel as head of the state oil firm, Sonangol, and removing Jose Filomeno from the sovereign wealth fund.

In a separate case, Jose Filomeno dos Santos has been accused by Angolan prosecutors of participating in an attempted fraud of $500 million against the central bank. He denies wrongdoing.

The Sovereign Wealth Fund has moved to sack Quantum Global over concerns of mismanagement. It secured a global freezing order through British courts, and Mauritius suspended business licenses linked to QG Investments Africa Management, another Bastos firm which also invested money on behalf of Angola.

Earlier this month, Swiss authorities raided several locations in Switzerland as part of a criminal investigation into suspected money laundering connected to crimes involving Angola’s sovereign wealth fund.

Quantum Global has previously denied wrongdoing, saying the state fund has violated long-term contractual obligations. The firm denounced what it called “intimidating tactics” and said the fund was destroying the value of its investments. (Editing by Larry King)

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