Helped by public relations officials in Lisbon, Ms.
dos Santos has put forward an image of herself as a self-made businesswoman.
In April, she spoke about being an entrepreneur at the London Business School. dos Santos’s critics say she has tried to gain respectability in the West by using her ill-gotten gains in Angola and laundering them in Portugal — an accusation she rejects.“In my book respectability is not achieved by mingling with the ‘right people,’” she said in an email.
In the past two years, her family has made a splash at the Cannes Film Festival: Ms. dos Santos was upstaged this year at Cannes only by her younger half brother, Danilo dos Santos, who was recently granted major shares in a new Angolan bank, according to the Angolan news media as well as politicians and businessmen in Luanda, Angola’s capital. dos Santos, who is in his mid-20s, made the winning bid of 500,000 euros, or about 0,000, for a collection of photographs.dos Santos sat in the front row of fashion shows, and Kim Kardashian cooed over a 404-carat diamond paraded at a party thrown last year by de Grisogono, the Swiss jeweler now owned by the dos Santos family.“Thought I’d seen it all, this is the biggest diamond I’ve ever seen,” Ms. In the next few hours, as video of the auction spread on social media, his spending caused widespread outrage in Angola, where poor health care contributed to a yellow fever outbreak that killed more than 350 people last year. dos Santos and a companion walked up to the stage and were hugged by the M. Smith added, “They look way too young to have 500,000 euros.”Angola had been at war — fighting for independence from Portugal, which came in 1975, and then locked in a civil war — for four decades by the time peace finally arrived in 2002.C., the star Will Smith, who shouted, “500,000 euros! Peace coincided with an extended oil boom that eventually propelled Angola, with only 25 million people, to become one of the top 20 oil producers in the world.In a case that has angered the Angolan government, Angola’s vice president, Manuel Vicente, was charged in February with paying a 0,000 bribe to a Portuguese judge to quash a corruption investigation, the furthest an Angola-related case has moved in Portugal’s judicial system.The vice president was accused of, among other things, laundering money by buying apartments in the “Angolans’ building” on the coast of Cascais. With billions invested in Portugal, including in some of its biggest public companies, the Angolans have bought Portuguese wineries, newspapers, sports teams and other trophies of the super rich.The money flowing into Portugal comes from the colony it dominated, often brutally, for hundreds of years, Angola.Now, the African nation is a major oil producer that has been led for the last 38 years by Ms.LISBON — How the roles have reversed: The colonizer, some Portuguese contend, has been colonized.On the Portuguese coast of Cascais, where the nation’s royal court used to summer, a new 14-story condominium building looms confidently by the sea.dos Santos, 44, has gained large or controlling shares in Angola’s diamond, cellphone, banking and other industries over the years. dos Santos said that, beginning in the early 1990s, she had started “a small beverage distribution and logistics business,” as well as a restaurant, an event production company and a walkie-talkie business. dos Santos did not say where she had obtained the capital to invest in those businesses or in Unitel, which she now controls.She has also acquired big stakes in Portugal’s banks, the Portuguese energy giant Galp, the Portuguese telecommunications company NOS, and other businesses. dos Santos on a list of 15 cases that symbolized “grand corruption.” She responded by saying that her investments were “transparent.”Last year, her father appointed her chief executive of Sonangol, the state oil company that the president has used over the decades to further political and business interests.