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Marc Alain Bohn Contributing Editor

Bill Waite Contributing Editor

Shruti J. Shah Contributing Editor

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Thursday
Jun012017

Former Och-Ziff middleman jailed two years

The son of a former Prime Minister of Gabon was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison for conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by bribing government officials in Africa.

Samuel Mebiame, 43, was a consultant to a mining company owned by an Och-Ziff joint venture. He worked for the joint venture from 2007 to 2012.

He's a dual citizen of Gabon and France. He lived in Paris before his arrest in Brooklyn last year.

In Niger, Mebiame paid more than $3 million in bribes to a top official. He also gave the official luxury cars. In return, the Och-Ziff joint venture received licenses for uranium concessions. 

In Chad, Mebiame bribed a high-ranking government official with cash and luxury foreign travel for the official and the official’s wife. The Och-Ziff JV was granted uranium concessions including an asset stripped from a French-owned company at Mebiame’s urging. 

In Guinea, Mebiame obtained confidential government information by bribing officials with cash, the use of private jets, and an S-Class Mercedes Benz.

Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC agreed in September to a $412 million FCPA settlement with the DOJ and SEC. The violations related to Mebiame's bribery in Africa and to other offenses in Libya.

As part of the settlement, an Och-Ziff Africa unit pleaded guilty to a one-count criminal information. The company was charged with a conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA.

Och-Ziff CEO Daniel Och agreed to pay nearly $2.2 million to settle SEC charges that he caused FCPA violations.

Mebiame pleaded guilty in December. He was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in New York.

His father, Leon Mebiame, was prime minister of Gabon from 1975 to 1990. He died in December 2015.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.