Parent allegedly bribes sports coach to send son to Harvard

Harvard University is looking into an allegation that one of its students was enrolled after his father bought the house which belonged to the school's fencing coach at a higher-than-market price.
Harvard University is looking into an allegation that one of its students was enrolled after his father bought the house which belonged to the school's fencing coach at a higher-than-market price.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (XINHUA) - Harvard University said on Thursday it was looking into an allegation that one of its students was enrolled after his father bought the house which belonged to the school's fencing coach at a higher-than-market price.

Harvard said in a statement that it came to learn of the case after local media broke the news, and is "now undertaking an independent review of the matter".

According to the allegations, Mr Zhao Jie, a wealthy businessman from Montgomery County, Maryland, paid nearly a million US dollars for a house owned by Mr Peter Brand, Harvard's fencing coach, when the house was only valued at US$549,300 (S$743,900.51).

After Mr Zhao made the purchase in May 2016, his son was accepted into Harvard University and became a member of its fencing team.

Mr Zhao sold the house 17 months later for US$665,000. He never lived in the house, according to the Boston Globe.

Mr Zhao resigned from the Maryland Governor's Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs after the allegations surfaced.

The allegation came after the Department of Justice in recent weeks busted an illegal operation that funnelled bribes from wealthy parents to school sports coaches or supervisors of standardised tests to ensure that their children entered prestigious universities.

 

The high-profile case, which involved Hollywood stars and top-tier universities such as Yale and Georgetown, brought the enrolment process of elite US universities under scrutiny.