Monday, February 3, 2014

Justice Department Probes on Possible Violation of Antibribery Laws

At the center of the probe is a group of middlemen, known as "fixers," operating in the Middle East, London and elsewhere. The fixers established connections between investment firms and individuals with ties to leaders in developing markets.

The investigation is looking at fixers' roles in arranging deals between financial firms and Libyan officials. The fixers acted as placement agents. In some cases, the sovereign-wealth-fund fixers collected a "finder's fee."

Fees paid to placement agents can be legal or can be considered bribes, depending on the size of the fees and the nature of the agents' relationship with the parties to the transaction.

Among the deals being scrutinized is a $120 million hotel project in which Och-Ziff had a stake—a joint venture involving U.K.-based InterContinental Hotels Group as well as a Libyan developer and the Libyan Investment Authority to build a luxury hotel in Tripoli.

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