The Securities and Exchange Commission last week charged two former executives at Och-Ziff Capital Management Group with being the driving forces behind a far-reaching bribery scheme that violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Och-Ziff and two other executives previously settled charges against them in the case.
The SEC complaint, filed Jan. 26, alleges that Michael Cohen, who headed Och-Ziff’s European office, and an investment executive on Africa-related deals, Vanja Baros, caused tens of millions of dollars in bribes to be paid to high-level government officials in Africa. Their alleged misconduct induced the Libyan Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund to invest in Och-Ziff managed funds. Cohen and Baros also allegedly directed illicit efforts to secure mining deals to benefit Och-Ziff by directing bribes to corruptly influence government officials in Chad, Niger, Guinea, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the SEC said.
The SEC’s complaint charges Cohen and Baros with violating the FCPA and Section 30A of the Securities Exchange Act, and aiding and abetting Och-Ziff’s violations. Cohen also is charged with violating Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act. The SEC is seeking monetary penalties against Cohen and Baros among other remedies.