U.S. v. Dmitrij Harder, No. 2:15-cr-00001 (E.D. Pa. 2015)
The DOJ’s action against Dmitrij Harder is unique in that it invokes the rarely used “public international organization” prong of the FCPA’s “foreign official” element.
Financial Services/Financial Institutions
2007; 2008; 2009
Official of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Dmitrij Harder is the former owner and President of Chestnut Consulting Group Inc. and Chestnut Consulting Group Co.
According to the DOJ, beginning in 2007 Harder paid bribes to the sister of a foreign official at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (“EBRD”) in exchange for influencing the official’s actions on financing applications submitted by the Chestnut Group’s clients. Specifically, Harder allegedly made five payments totaling more than $3.5 million to the EBRD official’s sister. These payments were purportedly for consulting and other services, though the DOJ alleges that she in fact provided no such services. The DOJ also alleges that Mr. Harder created false documents to justify these payments.
As a result of these payments, the Chestnut Group allegedly secured approvals on two applications for financing from two of Chestnut Group’s corporate clients; the first resulted in an $85 million investment and a €90 million loan, while the second resulted in a $40 million investment and a $60 million loan. The Chestnut Group also allegedly earned approximately $8 million in “success fees” as a result of obtaining EBRD approval of these two applications.
On January 6, 2015, Harder was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly violating the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions and the Travel Act for his participation in a scheme to bribe the foreign European banking official. Harder was also indicted for money laundering and conspiracy to commit international money laundering. After initially pleading not guilty to the charges, on April 20, 2016 Harder pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the FCPA. Sentencing is scheduled for June 2017.