BOSTON (Reuters) – A former Harvard College fencing coach and a Maryland businessman have been acquitted on Wednesday of costs they schemed to safe coveted spots for the chief’s two sons on the Ivy League faculty in alternate for $1.5 million in bribes.
A federal jury in Boston discovered Peter Model, the previous coach, and Jie “Jack” Zhao not responsible of the entire costs in opposition to them in a case that prosecutors portrayed as a part of their broader effort to stamp out corruption within the U.S. faculty admissions course of.
Protection attorneys had argued that the funds Zhao made to Model weren’t bribes however loans that he had since repaid and that the federal government’s star witness, an alleged intermediary, couldn’t be trusted.
“We’re grateful to the jury for his or her service and for doing justice on this case,” mentioned Zhao’s lawyer, Invoice Weinreb.
The case was tried by a number of the identical prosecutors who had helped safe a number of of the 50-plus convictions arising out of a current faculty admissions scandal involving rich dad and mom and coaches at different elite universities nationally.
The Harvard case, although, was unrelated to that investigation, which was dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues,” and as an alternative was prompted by an investigative report the Boston Globe revealed in 2019 within the wake of the broader scandal.
Prosecutors mentioned Model agreed to assist Zhao, the co-founder of a telecommunications firm known as iTalk World Communications Inc, safe the admission of his sons to the extremely selective faculty as fencing recruits in alternate for bribes.
Prosecutors mentioned Zhao helped cowl the prices of a brand new sports activities automotive, Model’s son’s scholar loans and faculty tuition, and the coach’s utility payments.
Then in 2016, Zhao purchased Model’s rundown home for practically twice its assessed worth, permitting Model to purchase a $1.3 million condominium in Cambridge, prosecutors mentioned. Zhao paid the $50,000 down cost for that condominium and lined renovation prices.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; and Jonathan Oatis)
Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.Source 2 Source 3 Source 4 Source 5