Two More Former Och-Ziff Executives Charged by SEC in Far-Reaching Bribery Scheme
On January 26, the SEC charged two more former executives at Och-Ziff Capital Management Group with being the “driving forces” behind a massive bribery scheme across Africa that violated the FCPA. The civil complaint, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, alleges that Michael Cohen, the former head of Och-Ziff’s European office in London, and Vanja Baros, an investment executive on Africa-related deals, caused “Och-Ziff to pay tens of millions of dollars in bribes to government officials on the continent of Africa.” Specific allegations include that they induced Libyan authorities to invest in Och-Ziff managed funds, and directed illicit efforts to secure mining deals by bribing government officials in Libya, Chad, Niger, Guinea, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In announcing the complaint, Kara Brockmeyer, Chief of the SEC’s FCPA Unit, said the defendants “were the masterminds of Och-Ziff’s bribery scheme that improperly used investor funds to pay bribes through agents and partners to officials at the highest levels of foreign governments.” The complaint seeks disgorgement and civil monetary penalties among other remedies.
The complaint follows Och-Ziff’s payment last September of $412 million to the DOJ and SEC to settle criminal and civil charges in one of the largest ever FCPA enforcement actions. Previous FCPA Scorecard coverage of Och-Ziff’s settlement with the DOJ and SEC can be found here.