Och-Ziff Capital Management Group's main business will probably avoid conviction in a U.S. bribery probe by having an overseas unit plead guilty, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Prosecutors are discussing such an arrangement with the money manager, which would still require the holding company to enter a deferred prosecution agreement, the people said, asking not to be named because the talks are private. Such a deal could take some pressure off the hedge fund manager, which has suffered a wave of redemptions as the roughly five-year probe of suspected bribes in Africa comes to a head.
Jonathan Gasthalter, a spokesman for Och-Ziff, declined to comment.
Och-Ziff, founded and run by Daniel Och, said this month it had earmarked $414 million to resolve the investigation. Authorities including federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have been digging into a web of complex oil and mining deals funded by the company in Africa, examining whether it knowingly paid bribes to government officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Libyan officials, people familiar with the matter said.
While Och-Ziff has said talks with the U.S. government are in advance stages, such negotiations remain fluid until a deal is announced. Spokesmen from the SEC and Justice Department declined to comment.
Och-Ziff rose 5.4% at 9:58 a.m. EDT in New York trading, the most in two weeks. Before Wednesday, the stock had lost 66% of its value in the past year.
A Gabonese “fixer” with links to the firm was arrested and charged Tuesday by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn. Samuel Mebiame, the son of a former Gabon prime minister, was accused of routinely paying bribes to win mineral rights in Niger, Guinea and Chad for a joint venture whose partners included a hedge fund. That fund is Och-Ziff, people familiar with the matter have said.