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Former Hedge Fund Exec Charged With Fraud in NY Federal Court

Michael Cohen, a former executive of a multi-billion dollar hedge fund, made a bad loan and a worse decision afterwards.

According to an indictment in New York, he conspired to commit investment adviser fraud and other crimes when the borrower couldn't repay the loan. It was a personal loan that didn't directly involve Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, which had already settled charges it bribed African officials for business.

But for Cohen, a rising star in the company, it was a meteoric decline from the days when he made enough money to buy himself a 900-acre estate in London. The good news for him is, he still lives there.

$18 Million Loan

Och-Ziff was valued at $39 billion in 2016, when it settled the bribery case for $400 million. Many investors pulled out after the scandal, but the company is still worth $32 billion today.

Cohen was the former head of European investing for the company when he made an $18 million loan to a business associate for a luxury yacht. When the businessman couldn't make the payments, Cohen brokered a sale of shares for him to recover some of the debt from a charitable foundation.

However, prosecutors allege, Cohen did not disclose to the charity that he would receive about $4 million from the deal. After that, it went from bad to worse.

Bad to Worse

At the same time, the Security and Exchange Commission was investigating the bribery allegations against Och-Ziff. In 2012, Cohen allegedly told the businessman to backdate a letter to cover up issues from the stock sale.

When authorities asked about the letter, Cohen denied it had been backdated. Bridget Rohde, acting U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, said he violated his fiduciary duties and deceived a charitable foundation to enrich himself.

"The deceit continued when he learned that the U.S. government was investigating his activities, was confronted with evidence of the alleged crimes and responded with a cover-up," she said.

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