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Nov 16, 2020 Travel News

Former Harvard fencing coach accused of corruption

The former Harvard fencing coach was arrested and charged with bribery on Monday, accused by prosecutors of accepting $ 1.5 million from a wealthy businessman in exchange for recruiting the two sons of the man for the university fencing team.

Harvard sacked coach Peter Brand in 2019 after his own investigation. Businessman Jie “Jack” Zhao, 61, of Potomac, Md., Was also arrested and charged with bribery.

Federal prosecutors said Mr. Zhao paid for Mr. Brand’s car, paid the tuition for the coach’s son, paid the mortgage on his house in a Boston suburb and ultimately bought the house from a inflated price. After Mr. Brand bought a more expensive residence in Cambridge, prosecutors said, Mr. Zhao paid to renovate it.

The two men have been charged with bribery in federal programs, carrying up to five years in prison.

Harvard began investigating Mr Brand last year as universities across the country scrambled to respond to a large federal investigation into university admissions fraud, which raised questions about sports recruitment and if the coaches got rich by selling primarily recruiting niches.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston has indicted 50 people in the case, known as Operation Varsity Blues, including eight coaches and 33 parents, including Hollywood celebrities and prominent businessmen.

Harvard was not directly involved in the Varsity Blues investigation.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.