Former Consulting Group Owner Pleads Guilty To Bribing Official At European Bank For Reconstruction And Development
PHILADELPHIA – Dmitrij Harder, 43, of Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, 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). Harder is a legal permanent resident of United States. U.S. District Court Judge Paul S. Diamond scheduled a sentencing hearing for July 21, 2016.
The EBRD was a multilateral development bank headquartered in London, England, and was owned by more than 60 sovereign nations and provided financing for development projects in emerging economies, primarily in Eastern Europe. Between 2007 and 2009, Harder 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. Harder also admitted that the Chestnut Group earned approximately $8 million in “success fees” as a result of the EBRD’s approval of these two applications.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Morgan and Senior Trial Attorney Jason Linder of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The Overseas Anti-Corruption Unit of the City of London Police and the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided assistance. Germany, Jersey and Guernsey also provided assistance in this matter.