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Innovation Prize for Africa founder freed from jail after settlement reached
Swiss Angolan entrepreneur Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais — the founder of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) — has been released from jail in Angola, following a confidential settlement agreement reached between Bastos de Morais and Angola’s sovereign wealth fund.
The (IPA) is an annual competition which honours leading entrepreneurs and innovators on the continent and is run by the African Innovation Foundation.
Bastos de Morais (pictured above) was arrested and jailed September last year by Angolan authorities, who also arrested Jose Filomeno dos Santos, the son of former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, over the alleged illegal transfer of $500-million in state funds to an HSBC Holdings account in the UK. Both were placed under preventative detention
On Friday Bastos de Morais’s company Quantum Global Group, which formerly managed the sovereign wealth fund, announced that the entrepreneur has been freed. Quantum Global said the Angolan authorities have not filed any criminal conduct charges against him.
The company did not reveal whether the IPA — which the African Innovation Foundation was due to be held on 11 and 12 October last year in Kigali, Rwanda — would resume activities this year, and when the next event will be held.
It is not immediately certain when the next Innovation Prize for Africa event, which was to be held in October last year in Kigali, will take place
“Following the decision by the Angolan authorities not to file charges, the Mauritian authorities have lifted the freezing order against the bank accounts of Quantum Global and Mr Bastos. Furthermore, the Financial Services Commission has reinstated the group’s licenses,” Quantum Global said.
It said the settlement agreement follows success in the courts over the past months in Switzerland and in the UK, where the English High Court dismissed a worldwide freezing order against Quantum Global and Mr Bastos and authorised that these parties can pursue damages.
As part of the settlement agreement, no further claims will be brought by either party against the other, Quantum Global said.
Quantum Global said the settlement covers all claims initiated by Angola’s sovereign wealth fund in international jurisdictions including Angola, Mauritius, Switzerland and in the UK.
In line with the agreement, Quantum Global and Mr Bastos will also drop their damages claim against the sovereign wealth fund in the UK and will discontinue their commercial claims against the sovereign wealth fund in Mauritius, it said.
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