State-owned bank wins right to sell Zopt shares seized from Isabel dos Santos
The CGD action that led to a seizure of 124 million Zopt shares and dividends, which belonged to Kento Holding (a company owned by Isabel dos Santos, daughter of former Angolan president.
The Lisbon Court of Appeal ruled in favour of state-owned Caixa Geral de Depósitos bank (CGD), authorising the sale of shares of Zopt holding, owned by businesswoman Isabel dos Santos, which it had seized for payment of €6.2 million.
The decision of the Lisbon Court of Appeal orders that the sale of shares and dividends from the Zopt holding company (shareholder of NOS) continues, and does not agree with the Angolan court in this case, which wanted the sale of the assets to be suspended due to a preventive seizure.
At issue is the CGD action that led to a seizure of 124 million Zopt shares and dividends, which belonged to Kento Holding (a company owned by Isabel dos Santos, daughter of former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos).
However, Angola already had a preventive seizure of these seized shares in 2020, and the Angolan Attorney General’s Office then requested in 2022 that the enforcement court of the judicial district of Lisbon suspend the sale of these shares considering that this could jeopardise the seizure in favour of the Angolan state, which was granted by the court.
CGD appealed, and the Lisbon Appeal Court has now ruled that the preventative seizure cannot take precedence over attachment and that the letter from Angola to prevent execution with the sale of the assets cannot jeopardise recognition and ranking of credits, for which it considers “completely unfounded to demand that CGD, as a secured creditor, should have to wait months or even years until the criminal proceedings, under which the shares were seized, come to an end or the seizure decreed is lifted.
If this were done, says the Court, CGD would have a “loss inherent to this delay” and would be tantamount to calling into question its right, so it considers that “no legal grounds can be seen for ordering a stay of execution, preventing CGD from proceeding with the enforced satisfaction of its credit”.
Zopt, which owns the NOS operator, was 50% owned by Sonaecom and the remaining half by Isabel dos Santos’ companies.
Last year, Sonaecom ceased to be a shareholder of Zopt, which became fully owned by Unitel International Holdings and Kento Holding Limited (companies controlled by Isabel dos Santos), and the shareholders’ agreement that governed relations between Zopt’s shareholders was terminated.
Thus, at the end of 2022, Zopt handed over shares representing 26.07% of the share capital and voting rights of NOS to Sonaecom.
Currently, Sonaecom directly owns 26.07% of the share capital of NOS and Zopt also owns 26% of NOS. Sonae holds 10.78% of the operator.