Michael L. Cohen, the ex-head of Och-Ziff Capital Management Group in Europe, has pleaded guilty to one criminal count of lying to authorities. The guilty plea comes a year after he was accused of defrauding a client, a biomedical research charity, of millions of dollars. Although prosecutors have not identified the charity, sources have told various media that it was Wellcome Trust, which backs research in health, science, and other fields.
Cohen, who was based in the UK at the time while working for the hedge fund management firm, is the one who brokered the sale of shares in an African mining company to the charity. The company belonged to one of his business associates.
Cohen made $4M from the sale of the shares. He allegedly failed to tell the charity that he himself owned shares in the mining company.
Cohen pleaded not guilty to the other criminal fraud charges filed against him last year. His guilty plea now is over lies he told the US government when he was asked about a letter that was backdated to hide that he had a stake in the mining company. As part of the plea deal, the other charges were dropped.
In 2016, Och-Ziff Capital paid $413M in fines for allegedly paying $100M in bribes to different governments in Africa in exchange for certain investments and deals. The settlement was part of a deferred-prosecution deal that involved criminal charges against the firm being dismissed as long as it stayed in compliance with the terms of the agreement and didn’t break any more laws during that time.
Och-Ziff Capital Management Group works with different investors, including foundations, endowments, and pension funds. The allegations led to investors pulling over $5.5M from the hedge fund.
Investor Fraud Claims
Investors who are the victim of fraud can file an investor fraud claim to try and get their money back. Even if criminal charges are dropped against the party who committed the fraud, this is a separate legal proceeding, and it does not mean that you, as an investor, cannot pursue your own claim to recover your funds through civil proceedings.
At Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP (SSEK Law Firm), our investor fraud lawyers have found that filing your own securities claim increases your chances of maximizing your recovery. Not only that, but you get personalized legal attention and an experienced legal team advocating on your behalf and fighting to get your money back. Contact SSEK Law Firm today.