Jie 'Jack' Zhao paid for Peter Brand's car and contributed to his son's college tuition

The Guardian reports that an Asian businessman paid $1.5 million in bribes to get his two sons into Harvard University.

Jie ‘Jack’ Zhao, 61, and Peter Brand, 67, were both arrested for conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery.

The Maryland businessman paid for Brand’s car and bought his house for almost double its value, as well as contributing to his son’s college tuition.

Zhao, a CEO of a telecommunications company, donated $1million to the National Fencing Foundation of Washington DC.

Months later, Zhao’s eldest son was admitted to Harvard as a fencing recruit.

Brand, an ex-Harvard fencing coach, received $100,000 from the foundation to his fund shortly after.

Zhao also purchased Brand’s three-bedroom house for almost $1 million in 2016 even though it was assessed at the time at $549,300. Zhao did not live at the home and sold it for a loss 17 months later.

The city assessor of the property purchase wrote in his notes at the time “MAKES NO SENSE”.

Zhao then began paying Brand directly, paying off his mortgage and writing cheques to Pennsylvania State University for Brand’s son tuition. The businessman even paid Brand’s water and sewer bill.

Brand went on to buy a condo for $1.3 million, which was above asking price. Zhao paid $150,000 to help Brand renovate his new place.

Joseph Bonavolonta, head of the FBI Boston Division said in an email statement, “today’s arrests show how Peter Brand’s and Jie Zhao’s plan to circumvent the college admissions process ended up backfiring on both of them.”

“Now they are accused of exchanging more than $1.5 million in bribes for their own personal benefit.”

Last year, Harvard was accused of discriminating against Asian American applicants. However, the court ruled in favour of the Ivy League school.

In other news, a Washington school district has come under fire for excluding Asian Americans from “students of colour” in its statistics page.