SEC Snares Two “Masterminds” Behind Och-Ziff Bribery Scheme – Corruption, Crime & Compliance
The SEC recently filed a lengthy civil complaint against two Och-Ziff executives: Michael Cohen, who headed Och-Ziff’s European office, and Vanja Barros, an executive responsible for Africa-related transactions, charging them with participation in a massive bribery scheme in Libya, Chad, Niger, Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Last year, Och-Ziff settled with the Justice Department and the SEC, and agreed to pay fines and penalties totaling $412 million. Two executives, including Och-Ziff’s CEO and CFO, settled with the SEC at the same time.
The SEC needs to win a trial and if this case proceeds to trial, the SEC appears to have a golden opportunity to demonstrate its trial abilities. On the other hand, if the SEC loses this trial, it will be a real blow to its credibility and enforcement expertise. In other words, there is a lot at stake in this prosecution.