The Pennsylvania-based consultant who bribed an officer at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for loan approvals lost his appeal against a 60-month prison sentence for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Dmitrij Harder, 46, a Russian-born German national living in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, argued to the Third Circuit that bribes to secure financing for two Russian energy projects provided economic benefits that should have been considered a mitigating factor during his sentencing.
In 2008 and 2009, Harder paid $3.5 million in bribes to Andrej Ryjenko, a London-based senior banker at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). In exchange, Ryjenko pushed loan approvals for Russian energy projects promoted by Harder’s clients.
Harder pleaded guilty in 2016 to two counts of violating the FCPA. He forfeited $1.9 million as part of his plea deal.
In 2017, a UK court sentenced Ryjenko, 45, a dual UK and Russian citizen, to six years in prison.
Harder argued on appeal that his bribery was “highly beneficial” because the pipeline projects created 6,500 jobs and boosted “the entire economy of the (eastern Siberia) region.”
That economic benefit should have been considered during his sentencing, Harder said.
Judge Eugene Siler, writing last week for a panel of the Third Circuit, said the trial judge, Paul Diamond, had considered Harder’s “economic benefit” argument and correctly rejected it.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Harder is an inmate at the low-security federal correctional institution at Allenwood, Pennsylvania.
His release date is August 26, 2020.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.