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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Former Owner and President of Pennsylvania Consulting Companies Pleads Guilty to Bribing Official at European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

The former owner and president of Chestnut Consulting Group Inc. and Chestnut Consulting Group Co. (the Chestnut Group) pleaded guilty today to bribing an official at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). 

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Special Agent in Charge William F. Sweeney of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division made the announcement.

Dmitrij Harder, 43, of Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, a U.S. legal permanent resident, pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the FCPA before U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  Sentencing is scheduled for July 21, 2016.

According to admissions made in connection with Harder’s plea, the EBRD was a multilateral development bank headquartered in London that was owned by more than 60 sovereign nations and provided financing for development projects in emerging economies, primarily in Eastern Europe.  Harder admitted that between 2007 and 2009, he engaged in a scheme to pay approximately $3.5 million in bribes to an EBRD official to corruptly influence the official’s actions on applications for EBRD financing submitted by the Chestnut Group’s clients and to influence the official to direct business to the Chestnut Group. 

The EBRD ultimately approved applications for financing from two of the Chestnut Group’s corporate clients; the first resulted in the EBRD providing an $85 million investment and a 90 million Euro loan, while the second resulted in a $40 million investment and a $60 million convertible loan, according to the plea.  Harder admitted that the Chestnut Group earned approximately $8 million in “success fees” as a result of the EBRD’s approval of these two applications.   

In a related action, the EBRD official, Andrey Ryjenko, and his sister, Tatjana Sanderson, have been charged by the United Kingdom’s Crown Prosecution Service and are pending trial.  A status conference in that matter is set for June 8, 2016.

The FBI’s Philadelphia Division is investigating the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Morgan of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Senior Trial Attorney Jason Linder of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.  The City of London Police’s Overseas Anti Corruption Unit and the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance.  Germany, Jersey and Guernsey also provided assistance in this matter.

Additional information about the department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa

Foreign Corruption
Press Release Number: 
Updated October 3, 2017