ENGLISH HIGH COURT ORDERS INQUIRY INTO DAMAGES CAUSED BY THE ANGOLAN SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND AGAINST QUANTUM GLOBAL
Serious Questions Raised Over Conduct of Related Proceedings in Angola and Mauritius
Quantum Global Group has announced that the English High Court ordered an inquiry to be commenced into the damage caused by the Fundo Soberano de Angola (“FSDEA”) following the wrongful imposition of a Worldwide Freezing Order (the “WFO”) obtained by the FSDEA against the Group.
The WFO, which was wrongfully imposed on the Group for four months from April to August 2018, caused significant losses to the Group and its affiliated companies. This has also greatly impacted the Group’s ability to fund its operations and pay its employees.
The start of the damages’ inquiry follows the judgment by the English High Court in August 2018 that the FSDEA had materially misled the Court in eight critical areas when it applied for and obtained the WFO in April. The FSDEA was ordered by the Court to pay the Group’s legal costs for the English Court proceedings.
Following the English Court’s August judgment, the Angolan authorities wrongfully imprisoned the Group’s Chairman and Founder, Mr Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, on September 24 of this year pending an investigation into a real estate transaction that was previously reported and audited by respected international accounting firms. An assessment made by Mr Bastos’s legal counsel of the evidence and grounds of the preventive detention order shows that they are wrong and unfounded. The detention has been deemed completely unnecessary considering that Mr Bastos came to Angola on his own volition and had been fully cooperating with the authorities to clear his name since May when both of his passports were illegally seized in violation of Angolan Law. To date, no charges have been filed against Mr Bastos.
Mr Bastos continues to be unnecessarily held in a prison for violent offenders, which has been the subject of criticism in recent years by many international human rights organizations, including by Amnesty International, and so far, the appeals launched to release Mr Bastos based on Angolan laws and the Country’s constitution have fallen on deaf ears. The unlawful detention of Mr Bastos, a Swiss and Angolan dual national, raises serious questions with regards to the conduct of the authorities and the treatment of international investors and foreign nationals in Angola. Quantum Global calls on the Angolan Government and its Courts to uphold the rule of law and guarantee a fair hearing and due process.
Furthermore, Quantum Global continues to be dismayed by the actions and conduct of the Mauritian authorities in maintaining orders freezing Quantum Global bank accounts and suspending operating licenses. Despite repeated attempts in the last six months, the affidavit relied upon by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Mauritius against Quantum Global is still being withheld from the Group. Reports in the Mauritian press indicate that there have been multiple approaches and visits by the Angolan authorities to Mauritius before the orders were granted and in the recent months thereafter, and serious questions have been raised with regards to the actions of the Mauritius authorities.
Offering an independent legal opinion on the matter in May, Lord Macdonald of River Glaven Kt QC, the former Director of Public Prosecutions of England and Wales, said that the continued deprivation of salaries from employees “is likely to be arbitrary and a significant breach of international human rights law. Moreover, we consider that the lack of disclosure and the associated lack of any meaningful opportunity to make representations against the deprivation of property renders the deprivation disproportionate.”
By intervening in a contractual dispute between Quantum Global and its client, the FSDEA, the Mauritius authorities’ actions represents a continued significant breach of due process. Similar to its call in Angola, the Group calls upon the Mauritius authorities to uphold their independence and guarantee a fair hearing and due process and not take actions that are detrimental to upholding the rights of investors.
Quantum Global has repeatedly stated its desire for a negotiated solution with the FSDEA that otherwise will have to be settled through a number of lengthy arbitration proceedings. The Group reiterated its call for the FSDEA to advance to a good faith solution, in accordance with international commercial law, to maintain the value of the portfolio and secure the jobs created in Angolan industries including ports, forestry, agriculture and real estate.