SEC Declines Enforcement Against Cobalt in FCPA Investigation
Houston-based Cobalt International Energy, Inc. announced in a January 28, 2015 press release that it has received a termination letter from the SEC advising the company that the SECs FCPA investigation relating to operations in Angola has concluded and agency staff did not intend to recommend any enforcement action. This notice formally concludes the SEC's investigation which, as detailed in a previous FCPA Scorecard post, began in response to allegations concerning the connection between Angolan officials and Nazaki Oil and Gáz, the local partner in a Cobalt-led deepwater oil venture. The government officials admitted owning shares in the joint venture but denied using their influence to award Cobalt oil-exploration rights in Angola. The SEC's inquiry, which began in 2011, was later joined by the Department of Justice. The company had previously "strongly refuted" allegations of wrongdoing and had said it was forced to enter into a joint venture with two Angolan-based oil exploration and production companies as part of its deal with the Angolan government. While the SEC has concluded its investigation, the DOJ's parallel investigation is ongoing.