U.S. charges Gabonese man for bribe scheme involving hedge fund

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 16, 2016 4:12 PM

By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Gabonese man who consulted for a joint venture involving a U.S. hedge fund was arrested on Tuesday on charges that he participated in a scheme to bribe officials in Africa to obtain mineral concessions.

Samuel Mebiame, who authorities say worked as a "fixer" for the joint venture and one of its mining companies, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Brooklyn for his role in a scheme to bribe officials in Niger, Guinea and Chad.

Mebiame, 43, was arrested in Brooklyn on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said.

The complaint did not name the fund, which it said participated in the joint venture with a Turks & Caicos Islands incorporated entity.

The description, though, matched that of Och-Ziff Capital Management, which has been in discussions with the U.S. authorities about resolving probes into its involvement in bribes paid to African officials.

A spokesman for Och-Ziff declined to comment on Tuesday. Benjamin Tymann, a lawyer for Mebiame, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Och-Ziff, the largest publicly traded U.S hedge fund, said earlier this month that it was in talks with the Justice Department and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to resolve the probes and had set aside $414.3 million ahead of a final settlement.

The case is U.S. v. Mebiame, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, No. 16-mj-752.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler and Diane Craft)