5 African Billionaires Who Have Faced Serious Scandals

The world of billionaires is typically filled with glamor and glamour, but it is not immune to scandals that can rock the foundations of even the most powerful people.

In Africa, where economic differences are glaring, millionaires’ lives aren’t necessarily as spotless as their bank accounts.

HowAfrica dives into the fascinating lives of five African billionaires who found themselves embroiled in enormous scandals that rocked their status and reputations, ranging from business magnates embroiled in corruption claims to tycoons facing court fights.

1. Isabel dos Santos 

Isabel dos Santos, an Angolan billionaire, was charged with money laundering and mismanagement during her tenure as CEO of state-owned oil company Sonangol in 2020.

Addressing a news conference, Prosecutor General Helder Pitta Gros said “Isabel dos Santos is accused of mismanagement and embezzlement of funds during her tenure at Sonangol and is thus charged in the first instance with the crimes of money laundering, influence peddling, harmful management … forgery of documents, among other economic crimes.”

According to the documents, Isabella, who was once considered Africa’s richest woman, robbed state funds to build her fortune, which is estimated to be $2.1 billion.

After her father, who ruled the country with an iron fist for nearly 40 years, stepped down in 2017, her father’s daughter left the country.

 

2. Femi Otedola

Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola allegedly paid a bribe of $620,000 to Farouk Lawan, Chairman of the House Committee on Fuel Subsidy Regime, “integrity group.”

According to news reports, Otedola handed them the money because he wanted his company’s name removed off the list of companies investigated by Farouq Lawan’s committee for misusing the gasoline subsidy regime in 2012.

According to reports, Otedola was seen on camera providing a bribe and Farouk Lawan accepting it.

 

3. Samih Sawiris

A Cairo court accused Egyptian billionaire Samih Sawiris of presenting inconsistent information about his holding company’s ownership in its subsidiary Orascom Hotels and Development.

The court sentenced him to two years in prison and ordered him to pay fines and bail.

While the business and Sawiris deny the claims, the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority fined the billionaire $3 million.

Sawiris later paid $3,376 in bail and filed an appeal.

 

4. Christo Wiese 

Christo Wiese, a South African billionaire, was alerted in December 2017 of a severe accounting fraud at retailer Steinhoff International, where he was both chairman and largest shareholder.

Over a nine-year period from 2009 to 2017, the fraud totaled $7.4 billion in fabricated transactions. Wiese resigned as chairman after the scam was exposed.

While it was established that Wiese had no involvement in the fraud, a 90% decline in the share price of Steinhoff, Wiese’s most valuable asset, reduced his fortune from an estimated $5.6 billion in March 2017 to $1.1 billion in 2018.

 

5. Mohammed Al Amoudi 

Mohammed Al Amoudi, a Saudi-Ethiopian billionaire, was accused of corruption at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS), who led the anti-corruption campaign, arrested Mohammed Al Amoudi in Saudi Arabia for 14 months. He was later liberated after the Ethiopian government intervened. According to reports, he made his first money in building in Saudi Arabia.

 

 

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