DOJ closes investigation into Cobalt’s Angolan operations

The U.S. Department of Justice has completed its corruption investigation of the Houston-based oil company Cobalt International Energy leaving the company in the clear. 

Cobalt informed on Thursday the company has received a letter from the DOJ saying the department has closed its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigation into Cobalt’s operations in Angola.

The FCPA prohibits improper payments or offers of payments to foreign governments and their officials and political parties for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business.

Cobalt said this formally concludes the DOJ investigation, which was the last remaining FCPA investigation by any U.S. regulatory agency into Cobalt’s Angolan operations. No regulatory action has been taken against Cobalt as a result of these investigations, the company noted.

The DOJ and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began investigating Cobalt’s operations in Angola in 2011 in response to allegations of a connection between senior Angolan government officials and Nazaki Oil and Gaz, S.A., an Angolan company that, until 2014, held a working interest alongside Cobalt on Blocks 9 and 21 offshore Angola.

The SEC investigation concluded in January 2015 without any enforcement action against Cobalt.

Timothy J. Cutt, Cobalt’s Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Like the SEC, the Department of Justice has decided to close its investigation into Cobalt’s Angolan operations. 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.”