Angolan Officials’ Company Under Investigation in the US
Cobalt denies wrongdoing in Angola; shares slide
Reuters, April 16, 2012
Cobalt International Energy Inc said on Monday it “strongly refuted” allegations of wrongdoing after a newspaper reported that three Angolan officials held concealed shares in an oil venture linked to the company. Cobalt shares dropped 10 percent after a Sunday Financial Times article shed more light on allegations of a relationship between Angolan officials and Nazaki Oil and Gaz, one of its partners in the country, that Cobalt says it was first told of in late 2010.
Angola officials held hidden oil stakes
Financial Times, April 15, 2012
Three of the most powerful officials in Angola have held concealed interests in an oil venture with Cobalt International Energy, the Goldman Sachs-backed explorer whose operations in one of the world’s most promising energy frontiers are under investigation by US authorities, the Financial Times has learned. Warning its shareholders that it might face liabilities under US anti-corruption laws, Houston-based Cobalt said in February that the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice were investigating its Angolan operations.
Spotlight falls on Cobalt’s Angola partner
Finantial Times, April 15, 2012
According to the company’s regulatory filings, the government stipulated that it would have to take an obscure local company, Nazaki Oil & Gáz, as a partner. Today the question of who owns Nazaki looms large over the fate of the Houston-based group, which is part-owned by Goldman Sachs, the US investment bank, and Riverstone, the US private equity group. Three of the most powerful figures in the Angolan regime have held interests in Nazaki, the Financial Times has found. One of them, Manuel Vicente, headed Sonangol for 12 years until his appointment as minister of state for economic co-ordination in January. The state-owned company oversees the 1.7m-barrel a day oil industry.
See here the criminal complaint lodged by Rafael Marques de Morais with the Angolan attorney general on January 2012 on the Nazaki corruption case.
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