DOJ Declines FCPA Action Against Cobalt International Energy
Houston-based Cobalt International Energy, Inc. announced in a February 9, 2017 press release that the DOJ had formally closed its FCPA investigation into Cobalt’s oil exploration operations in Angola and would not prosecute the Company. The press release noted that the DOJ’s investigation “was the last remaining FCPA investigation by any U.S. regulatory agency into Cobalt’s Angolan operations.” The DOJ’s declination letter came more than two years after the SEC closed its own FCPA investigation and declined to bring an enforcement action.
As detailed in a previous FCPA Scorecard post, the parallel investigations began in 2011, and were prompted by allegations concerning the connection between senior Angolan government officials and Nazaki Oil and Gáz, S.A., the local partner in a Cobalt-led deepwater oil venture. According to Cobalt’s 10-K filing for FY 2012, the Company had voluntarily contacted the DOJ when the SEC launched its initial inquiry and “offered to respond to any requests the DOJ may have.”