From the Wall Street Journal:
U.S. Investigates Hedge Fund Och-Ziff’s Link to $100 Million Loan to Mugabe
Firm is in talks to settle broader investigation into its business dealings in Africa
U.S. authorities are investigating whether Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC knew that part of a $150 million investment in a small African miner would wind up in the hands of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s government, according to people familiar with the probe.
Och-Ziff last year disclosed that a broader Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission investigation is examining the $47 billion New York hedge fund’s business in Africa under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The act bars firms doing business in the U.S. from giving money or items of value to foreign officials for business, either directly or through intermediaries.
The publicly traded hedge-fund firm is in talks to settle the probe into its ties to a network of investors and deal makers that it worked with on business from Libya to South Africa, according to people familiar with the investigation. Och-Ziff and others have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into mining operations in the past decade as commodities prices soared.
In Zimbabwe, U.S. authorities are examining Och-Ziff’s connection to a $100 million payment to Mr. Mugabe’s government in early 2008, the people said. The investigation into Och-Ziff’s ties to the payment, which was made through the African mining company it invested in, Central African Mining & Exploration Co., or Camec, hasn’t been previously disclosed. Camec at the time described the payment as a loan.
Och-Ziff has denied that it knew some of the money would end up with the Zimbabwe government. Human-rights groups said the funds were used to carry out a violent crackdown on the opposition during a tough election Mr. Mugabe ultimately won in 2008.One of our links in that long ago post was "Inside Mugabe's torture camps: beaten, maimed and poisoned with weedkiller".
U.S. investigators are scrutinizing a March 2008 trip to Zimbabwe taken by Och-Ziff’s Africa director at the time, Vanja Baros, according to people familiar with the investigation. The people said Mr. Baros met several people involved in channeling the money to the Mugabe government, including Billy Rautenbach, a Zimbabwean businessman with close ties to the dictator....MORE