Former Harvard Fencing Coach Charged With Bribery

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

Harvard fired the coach, Peter Brand, in 2019, after its own investigation. The businessman, Jie “Jack” Zhao, 61, of Potomac, Md., was also arrested and charged with bribery.

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

The two men were charged with federal programs bribery, which carries a potential sentence of up to five years in prison.

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