The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ended its corruption probe into Houston-based Cobalt International Energy Thursday after deciding not to take enforcement action against the company.

The SEC had been investigating allegations that Cobalt benefited from a relationship between senior Angolan officials and Angola-based Nazaki Oil and Gaz, Cobalt’s partner in two offshore Angola blocks.

The SEC inquiry was prompted by an investigative journalism piece by Angolan writer Rafael Marques de Morais that alleged Nazaki was secretly owned by three government officials, a claim the three officials later confirmed in a Financial Times report.

Cobalt denied knowing that Nazaki was partly owned by government officials when it was assigned to work with the company by Angola’s state owned Sonangol.

The SEC has officially closed its foreign corrupt practices act investigation into Cobalt.

“We are of course pleased with the closure of the SEC’s investigation. We have the utmost respect for the SEC and its investigative process, and cooperated fully with the SEC. Cobalt remains committed to conducting operations and creating shareholder value transparently and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations,” CEO and chairman Joseph H. Bryant said.

Cobalt continues to cooperate with the U.S. Department of Justice in a parallel investigation into the same matter.


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