DOJ probes finance firms’ dealings with Libya – report

• DOJ looking into possible breach of anti-bribery laws

• Goldman, Credit Suisse, JPM, SocGen in probe

• Blackstone, Och-Ziff also under scrutiny

Federal investigators are examining Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Credit Suisse Group AG, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Societe Generale, private equity firm Blackstone Group and hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC, the Journal said.

The DOJ is investigating investment deals made around the time of the financial crisis and afterward and whether the firms violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the paper said.

The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) invested up to $1 billion in funds run by all the firms under scrutiny except Blackstone, according to a 2010 audit of the sovereign wealth fund by KPMG, the Journal said.

Investigators are also probing a group of middlemen, known as “fixers”, operating in the Middle East, London and elsewhere, to look at their roles in arranging deals between financial firms and Libyan officials, the Journal said.

The DOJ, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan could not be immediately reached for comments by Reuters outside of regular U.S. business hours.

Last month, LIA filed a lawsuit against Goldman Sachs in London’s High Court, seeking to cancel a series of equity derivatives trades between January and April 2008 and the repayment of premiums paid to the investment bank for its services. 

Shubhankar Chakravorty is a reporter for Reuters News in Bangalore