US Court awards $135m to shareholders of DRC mine

Mining in the DRC. File image.

A US Court for the Eastern District of New York on Tuesday sentenced OZ Africa, a subsidiary of multi-billion-dollar hedge fund Och-Ziff, for corruption linked to mining projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The court reportedly awarded $135 million in restitution to the former shareholders of Africo Resources Ltd, who lost their investment.

The shareholders were recognized as “victims of crime” by the court for loss of their interest in the prospective Kalukundi copper and cobalt mine in southern Congo.

Congolese communities living near the mine received no compensation as their plight was not taken into consideration in the US court proceedings, UK corporate watchdog RAID said in a media statement

US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis also confirmed a $213 million penalty against the Och-Ziff subsidiary after it pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

The Och-Ziff unit pleaded guilty in September 2016 to participating in a bribery conspiracy to help acquire mining assets in several African countries, including the rights to the Kalukundi copper and cobalt mine in the DRC.

Och-Ziff previously paid a $213 million criminal penalty to the Justice Department and $199 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to settle civil claims.

In 2019, in an effort to put the scandal behind it, Och-Ziff changed its name to Sculptor Capital Management, according to RAID.