October 2, 2018 / 5:14 PM / 2 years ago

Och-Ziff reaches $29 mln shareholder accord over Africa bribery probes

NEW YORK, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC has reached a $28.75 million class-action settlement with investors who said it misled them about U.S. probes into its involvement in alleged bribery in Africa.

The settlement with one of the largest publicly-traded hedge fund companies was made public on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan and requires court approval.

It followed the company's $412 million settlement in Sept. 2016 of a U.S. Department of Justice criminal probe, and came 18 days after U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken said the investors could sue New York-based Och-Ziff as a group.

Investors accused Och-Ziff, Chief Executive Daniel Och and former Chief Financial Officer Joel Frank of inflating the company's stock price by concealing Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) probes into potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The defendants denied wrongdoing in agreeing to settle. An Och-Ziff spokesman had no immediate comment.

Och-Ziff has $32.8 billion of assets under management.

Och-Ziff's OZ Africa Management unit pleaded guilty to a criminal conspiracy charge as part of the Justice Department settlement.

Och, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc trader, agreed to pay $2.2 million at the time to settle a SEC civil recordkeeping charge, without admitting wrongdoing.

In July, another federal judge dismissed a separate SEC case accusing former Och-Ziff executives Michael Cohen and Vanja Baros of using bribes to win business in Africa.

Tuesday's settlement covers investors led by Ralph Langstadt and Julie Lemond, who bought Och-Ziff securities from Feb. 9, 2012 to Aug. 22, 2014.

Och-Ziff shares were unchanged at $1.43 in Tuesday afternoon trading. They have fallen more than 90 percent since early 2014.

The case is Menaldi v. Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-03251. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Bill Berkrot)

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