(Adds details from court hearing, information on sentencing,
By Nate Raymond
NEW YORK Dec 9 A Gabonese man who prosecutors
say acted as a "fixer" for a joint-venture involving the hedge
fund Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC pleaded
guilty on Friday to U.S. charges that he engaged in a foreign
Samuel Mebiame, a son of the late former Gabon Prime
Minister Leon Mebiame, entered his plea in federal court in
Brooklyn to conspiracy to violate the U.S. Foreign Corrupt
In court, Mebiame admitted that he participated in a scheme
to provide "improper benefits" to government officials in
certain African countries such as Guinea in exchange for
obtaining business opportunities, including a mining contract.
"I apologize for and regret my actions," he said.
Mebiame, 43, has been held without bail since his arrest in
August. He faces a maximum of five years in prison and is
scheduled to be sentenced on April 6.
His plea came after Och-Ziff and its chief executive,
Daniel Och, agreed in September to pay $412 million and $2.17
million, respectively, to resolve U.S. probes into the hedge
fund's role in bribing officials in several African
That settlement led to a subsidiary of Och-Ziff pleading
guilty to participating in a scheme to bribe officials in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, in what prosecutors said marked
the first U.S. foreign bribery case against a hedge fund.
Mebiame was arrested in connection with what prosecutors
said was his work as a "fixer" for a mining company owned by a
joint venture between Och-Ziff and an entity incorporated in the
Turks and Caicos Islands.
While court papers do not identify the joint venture, its
description matches one Och-Ziff formed with Palladino Holdings
Ltd, an investment vehicle founded by South African businessman
Mebiame's arrest came after he voluntarily met with federal
law enforcement in June 2015 to discuss his role in paying
bribes to secure mining concessions for the joint venture,
according to a criminal complaint.
The complaint said that Mebiame supplied cash and cars to
two officials in Niger; an S-Class Mercedes Benz sedan and
rented private Airbus jet to a Guinean official; and travel and
shopping expenses for an adviser to Chad's president.
Mebiame was paid at least $3.5 million through 2012 for his
work, the complaint said.
The case is U.S. v. Mebiame, U.S. District Court, Eastern
District of New York, No. 16-cr-00627.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Bernard Orr and Tom