Guys Who Allegedly Made So Little Money Bribing People Och-Ziff Didn’t Notice Finally Noticed By SEC

The SEC could overlook bribing a few African government officials, but not -like- all of them.
By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Facing accusations that it had bribed every African official it bumped into for the better part of a decade, Och-Ziff Capital Management held fast to its “two bad apples” defense: The whole sordid affair, from Libya to South Africa and everywhere in between, was planned and executed by two guys who incidentally happened to be employed by the hedge fund and acting on its behalf. After all, for all the stamps in their passports, Michael Cohen and Vanja Baros had only made $100 million for the firm, so really how could anyone back in New York have noticed?

This, it turns out, has proven rather a convincing argument, for not only did the SEC not make Och-Ziff itself plead guilty to anything, it’s now aping the hedge fund’s claims in its lawsuit against Cohen and Baros.

“As alleged in our complaint, Cohen and Baros 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,” said Kara Brockmeyer, Chief of the SEC’s FCPA Unit.

SEC Charges Two Former Och-Ziff Executives With FCPA Violations [press release]