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Luanda Leaks emails show financial institutions still have KYC problems

Some organizations, drawn in by irresistible fees, can’t resist working with high-risk clients – but technology might offer a solution.


Isabel dos Santos, chairwoman of Angola’s state-owned oil company Sonangol

When the façade around Isabel dos Santos, the billionaire daughter of the former president of Angola, came crashing down in January, those familiar with her reputation, her father and her business interests weren’t too surprised that much of her ‘self-made’ billions may have been acquired as a result of corruption and nepotism.

The Luanda Leaks project is a treasure trove of more than 700,000 emails, contracts, accounts and other documents relating to the various business dealings of Dos Santos, which was leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

It pieced together the international links between Dos Santos and several international financial firms, lawyers and governments that allegedly allowed her to steal millions of dollars in her position as chairwoman of Angola’s state-owned oil company Sonangol.

Dos Santos denies all wrongdoing.


The failure of a highly regulated services sector to flag any potentially fraudulent activity by Dos Santos and her family – especially when tools to mitigate against such risks exist – is concerning.

Know your customer (KYC) utilities are central repositories that store KYC data and documents, which can be shared between institutions.

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