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Nigerian-born Billionaire Deinde Fernandez Dies At 79

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The billionaire businessman died yesterday in a Brussels, Belgium hospital after a brief illness, a source close to the family said. He was 79.

Details of the death remained hazy last night.

One of Africa’s richest men, the late Fernandez was born in Lagos into the Fernandez family which originated from Brazil.

He was adviser to the Angolan Government on Economic Matters. He held this position for two years until his appointment as Deputy Permanent Representative of Mozambique to the United Nations in 1984.He ran an oil company known as Petro Inett – which obtained a 50 per cent share with South African-based Energy Africa Limited in a deal with the state oil company for exploration rights in a 4,700 km2 area of Angola’s coast in 1996.In 1992, he was appointed as Special Adviser to the President of Mozambique on International Economic Matters, a position he held for three years.

Even though a Nigerian, he was appointed the Permanent Representative of Central African Republic (CAR) at the United Nations in 1997. -Fernandez had interests in the CAR’s oil industry (at a time, he was the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Central African Republic). That does not include his bauxite (for aluminum) exports, gold mines (in Angola) and diamonds pits. He had shares in View, Sandcat Petroleum, Sanantonio, Goldfields, Voguehope, Grantdalem Inuola, Sandcat Goldfields, Woods and Petro Inett Equatorial Guinea.

He was also once the Consul for Benin Republic (then Republic of Dahomey) (1966). He was a long-time adviser to President José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola.

He was married to Aduke Fernandez, whom he divorced in July 2003 following a £300m divorce suit in Scotland. The court was asked by Aduke through her counsel, Charles Macnair QC, to compel Chief Fernandez to pay her a lump sum of £ 5 million and an allowance of £75,000 monthly for three years but the case was dismissed by the court. She died in 2013. He married Halima in 2003.

He was the father of Princess Antoinette Oyinkansola Fernandez, from his relationship with the Erelu Kuti of Lagos, Erelu Abiola Dosunmu .

Another of his daughter is Abimbola Fernandez, a model for Vivienne Westwood during the Edinburgh Fashion Week. In 2009, her face was the album cover for platinum selling artist Cobra Starship’s CD “Hot Mess”. She also modelled for the cover of the single “Good Girls Go Bad”.
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