On January 3, 2018, a ten-count indictment against Michael Leslie Cohen was unsealed in the Eastern District of New York.  Michael Leslie Cohen, a former executive managing director of New York-based hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC (“Och-Ziff”), was indicted for his alleged participation in a scheme to defraud an Och-Ziff client, a large charitable foundation, by recommending financial investments relating to the African mining sector.  Cohen was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit investment adviser fraud, one count of investment adviser fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and four counts of wire fraud.  Further, Cohen was also charged with conspiring to obstruct a federal grand jury and U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”) investigations and making false statements to federal agents.  Then-Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Bridget M. Rhode announced the charges and said, “[a]s alleged, Michael Cohen violated his fiduciary duties as an investment advisor, deceiving a charitable foundation, in order to enrich himself and his associates.”  According to the indictment, beginning in or about 2008, Cohen and his co-conspirators allegedly induced a charitable foundation to consent to purchasing shares of the African mining company without disclosing numerous conflicts of interests that existed in the transaction.  As an example, one of the sellers of the shares personally owed Cohen $18 million and would use the proceeds of the transaction to partially repay his debt to Cohen.  Furthermore, the indictment alleges that Cohen and others engaged in acts to obstruct both the federal grand jury and SEC investigations, in order to conceal the fraudulent scheme and self-dealing.  United States v. Cohen, 17-cr-00544 (E.D.N.Y.)

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