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London banker jailed for taking bribes from U.S. consultant

A UK court sentenced a former banker at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to six years in prison for taking $3.5 million in bribes from a Pennsylvania-based consultant.

Andrey Ryjenko, 44, a dual UK and Russian citizen, was convicted by a jury at London’s Old Bailey of a bribery conspiracy.

At the London-based development bank, Ryjenko reviewed applications for loans and investments submitted by eastern European oil, gas and mining firms.

Between July 2008 and November 2009, he agreed to take 50 percent of the commissions the Pennsylvania consultant would earn when the loans were approaved.

The consultant paid paid the money into accounts held by Ryjenko’s sister, Tatjana Sanderson. She was charged but later declared unfit to stand trial.

In the United States, the DOJ charged the consultant with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Dmitrij Harder, 42, a Russian national living in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in 2016 to two counts of violating the FCPA. He appeared in federal court in Philadelphia.

Harder, a U.S. legal permanent resident, owned Chestnut Consulting Group Inc.

In return for $3.5 million in bribes to Ryjenko, one of Chestnut’s clients won approval for an EBRD investment of $85 million and a €90 million ($100 million) loan.

Another client secured a $40 million EBRD investment and a $60 million convertible loan.

Harder and Chestnut earned about $8 million in “success fees” from the EBRD’s approval of the two applications.

Harder is scheduled to be sentenced on July 18 by Judge Paul Diamond. He faces up to ten years in prison.

In the FCPA, the term “foreign official” means any officer or employee of a foreign government or any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof, or of a public international organization . . . ” (15 U.S.C. § 78dd-2(h)(2)(A))

The DOJ said the EBRD was a public international organization and Ryjenko was a “foreign official.” Harder argued the point in court but lost a motion to dismiss.

The DOJ said in 2016 it had help in the case from the City of London Police and from authorities in Germany, Jersey, and Guernsey.

The UK Crown Prosecution Service charged Ryjenko and his sister in 2012.

Ryjenko was also convicted of money laundering and sentenced to two years in prison, which will run concurrently.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

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1 Comment

  1. The UK investigation was the culmination of an excellent investigation by the City of London Police, Overseas Anti Corruption Unit and would not have happened without the outstanding cooperation with both the FBI and the EBRD overcoming the substantial hurdles that occur when investigating international bribery cases. This guilty verdict sends out the strong message that corruption by its corrosive nature will not be tolerated and will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted regardless of where or how it occurs.

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