German prosecutors have issued a €150,000 fine to state-owned KfW Ipex-Bank, following a €50mn loan linked to Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former president and the subject of serious corruption allegations.

The penalty follows a 2015 loan from the German bank to Banco de Poupança e Crédito, a state-owned lender in Angola. Those funds were then on-lent to brewing company Sodiba, owned by dos Santos.

Dos Santos was the subject of 2020’s Luanda Leaks – a cache of documents mined by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) that raised accusations she had siphoned vast sums of public money through secretive corporate networks for personal gain.

A spokesperson for KfW Ipex-Bank says the fine – first reported by Süddeutsche Zeitung – does not allege any criminal wrongdoing on the part of the lender, and is not expected to lead to any further proceedings.

“Investigations by the Frankfurt am Main public prosecutor’s office in connection with Ipex’s financing in Angola and allegations of criminal breach of trust have now been dropped due to insufficient grounds for suspicion,” the spokesperson tells GTR.

“The investigations resulted only in an administrative fine against Ipex for negligent violation of certain internal procedural processes. This has brought to an end the investigations.”

Sources familiar with the matter say the fine was issued in relation to a breach of internal regulations, with permission to carry out certain business activities granted by staff who lacked sufficient seniority.

The loan was initially uncovered following an investigation by the ICIJ, in partnership with Süddeutsche Zeitung and two other media outlets.

The proceeds were used by Sodiba to purchase a brewery and bottle filling systems from a German manufacturer, Krones AG, the consortium says. Following the Luanda Leaks, Krones said it was not previously aware the company was owned by dos Santos.

Dos Santos told Süddeutsche Zeitung that she was not aware of the KfW Ipex-Bank loan, and says the brewery is not linked to the Angolan state.

The ICIJ reported early last year that dos Santos expected the new brewery – based in Bom Jesus, southeast of Angolan capital Luanda – to generate US$80mn a year in sales by 2021. Journalists found eight shell companies owned or part-owned by dos Santos that would support the project.

The fallout from the dos Santos allegations continues to ripple across Europe’s export finance market. Last year, an investigation by campaign group Spotlight on Corruption accused UK Export Finance (UKEF) of failing to conduct sufficient due diligence on potential high-risk transactions.

In one case from 2019, the group said UKEF provided a guarantee on a £17.6mn Deutsche Bank loan to support the construction of a hospital in Ghana.

The borrower was a subsidiary of Spain-based Eurofinsa, which had previously been investigated for payments involving members of the dos Santos family – a finding the report described as a major red flag.

UKEF said at the time it undertakes “rigorous due diligence including checks against financial crime, bribery and corruption, prior to any support being provided”.