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Cobalt: Justice Department drops FCPA probe

Jaclyn Jaeger | February 10, 2017

Cobalt International Energy, an independent exploration and production company, yesterday announced that it received a letter from the Department of Justice, stating that the agency does not intend to recommend any enforcement action after looking into potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act related to Cobalt's operations in Angola.

Cobalt stated that this “formally concludes” the Justice Department’s investigation, which was the last remaining FCPA investigation by any U.S. regulatory agency into Cobalt’s Angolan operations. No regulatory action has been taken against Cobalt as a result of these investigations.

As previously disclosed, the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission began investigating Cobalt’s operations in Angola in 2011 in response to allegations of a connection between senior Angolan government officials and Nazaki Oil and Gaz, an Angolan company that, until 2014, held a working interest alongside Cobalt on Blocks 9 and 21 offshore Angola. As Compliance Week previously reported, the SEC investigation concluded in January 2015 without any enforcement action.

“Like the SEC, the Department of Justice has decided to close its investigation into Cobalt’s Angolan operations,” Cobalt’s Chief Executive Officer Timothy Cutt said in a statement. “We are obviously pleased with this resolution and the closure of this investigation. Cobalt has been and is firmly committed to conducting its operations in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, including the FCPA.”