Hedge fund manager Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC (Och-Ziff) has agreed to pay a $412 million settlement, of which up to $213 million are criminal penalties imposed in connection with a widespread scheme involving the bribery of officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Libya—a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act(FCPA) .
The settlement is considered the largest ever reached under the FCPA. Och-Ziff Chairman and CEO Daniel S. Ochand CFO Joel M. Frank have reached a settlement agreement for the charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) [official website] in which Och has agreed to pay $2.2 million. Prosecutors claim Och-Ziff went into business with Dan Gertler , a billionaire from Israel, despite warnings about his unsavory associates and the fact Gertler had a habit of using his political connections in Africa to defeat his rivals. Aroused by suspicions, the SEC led an investigation which found that Och-Ziff used intermediaries, agents, and business partners to pay bribes to high-level government officials in Africa. The SEC stated [SEC press release] that Och-Ziff’s management ignored red flags and violated the anti-bribery, books and records, and internal controls provisions of the SEC Act of 1934 permitting the illicit transactions to continue. According to the SEC, additional bribes were paid to secure mining rights and corruptly influence government officials in Libya, Chad, Niger, Guinea and the DRC. Och termed the development of these events as “deeply disappointing,” and “inconsistent with [their] core values and not representative of [their] hundreds of employees world-wide.”