Sonaecom, part-owned of Portuguese pay TV and broadband service provider NOS, has challenged a Lisbon court’s seizure of a 26.075% stake in the company held by Isabel Dos Santos, the now-exiled daughter of former Angolan president José Eduardo Dos Santos.
The challenge follows the court’s decision to seize the NOS stake held indirectly through Dos Santos’s 50% stake in ZOPT, the JV between her investment vehicles – Unitel International Holdings BV and Kento Holding Limited – and Sonaecom.
Sonaecom said that while it would collaborate with the authorities in judicial proceedings, the could not comply with a ruling that “by violating the basic rule that a limited liability company (in this case ZOPT) is not responsible for the debts of its shareholders, seriously jeopardize the interests of ZOPT and Sonaecom” and is “liable to affect the regular functioning of the NOS General Meeting, one of the most
important listed companies in the Portuguese Capital Market”.
Sonaecom also challenged the court’s decision to deprive ZOPT as a whole of voting rights in respect of those shares that have been seized.
The court ruling, requiring the shares to be deposited with the Caixa Geral de Depósitos, follows a request by the Angolan authorities now pursuing Dos Santos, who they accuse of corruption on a massive scale, to freeze her bank accounts. Dos Santos denies any wrongdoing.
Dos Santos is a long-time shareholder in NOS and at one time attempted a takeover of Portugal Telecom, now owned by Altice. NOS and Dos Santos are also linked via their shared involvement in an Angolan pay TV venture.
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