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Report: Justice Department seeks guilty plea from Och-Ziff over Libya bribery allegations

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Report: Justice Department seeks guilty plea from Och-Ziff over Libya bribery allegations

The U.S. Department of Justice and could finalize in the next three months a settlement related to a five-yearinternational bribery investigation, although they are still discussing theterms, The Wall Street Journal reportedApril 11, citing "people familiar with the matter."

The publication reported that the Justice Department and theSEC are looking into whetherOch-Ziff knowingly paid bribes to government officials in its dealings withLibya's sovereign-wealth fund and involvement in natural resources deals inother African countries. Michael Cohen, the company's former London-based headof European investing who handled investments in Libya and other Africancountries, was at the center of the investigation. He resigned in March 2013.Cohen and an analyst who worked for him, Vanja Baros, have each received aWells Notice from the SEC.

The Justice Department wants Och-Ziff to plead guilty butthe asset manager is pushing for a deferred prosecution agreement. Securitiesregulators also want to impose as much as $400 million in civil sanctions basedon the profits that it allegedly received from bribery overseas. However,Och-Ziff's lawyers argued that profits from the activities in question totalless than $100 million and that it should not be held criminally reliable,according to the report.

Joe Snodgrass, Och-Ziff's head of corporate communications,declined to comment to S&P Global Market Intelligence.