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DOJ ends Cobalt International bribery probe

Cobalt International Energy, Inc. said Thursday the U.S. Justice Department has closed its FCPA investigation into the company's operations in Angola.

Cobalt said it received the declination in a letter from the DOJ.

Houston-based Cobalt said in a statement: "This formally concludes the DOJ investigation, which was the last remaining FCPA investigation by any U.S. regulatory agency into Cobalt’s Angolan operations."

The SEC issued a declination to Cobalt in January 2015. The agency had sent the independent oil and gas producer a Wells Notice in mid 2014. A Wells notice advises targets of an investigation that the SEC staff has made a preliminary determination to recommend an enforcement action.

The DOJ and SEC began investigating Cobalt’s operations in Angola in 2011.

"No regulatory action has been taken against Cobalt as a result of these investigations," the company said Thursday.

The investigations followed allegations of links between senior Angolan government officials and Nazaki Oil and Gaz, S.A., an Angolan company that Cobalt partnered with on two offshore areas of Angola until 2014.

Cobalt's CEO, Timothy Cutt, said in Thursday's statement: “We are obviously pleased with this resolution and the closure of this investigation. Cobalt has been and is firmly committed to conducting its operations in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, including the FCPA.”

Cobalt went public in 2009. Riverstone Holdings LLC and Carlyle Group are among its biggest shareholders.


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