Though it’s entirely possible that he did attempt to overstep his bounds in a negotiation that went down like this:

“If I’m gonna do this for you I want a Cadillac. With the seat warmers.”
“You’ll get a Chrysler Sebring and you’ll like it.”
“Bull shit! Bull shit!”
“No…no I’m sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking.”
“It’s okay, you’re emotional.”
“Do you think I can get it in red?”
“Sure, we’ll see what we can do.”

An investment agent who represented Harvard University faces charges in Romania that he took more than $1 million in bribes to induce the school to buy forest land at inflated prices. Dragos Lipan Secu arranged with unnamed sellers to artificially boost prices that Scolopax, a Harvard-owned company, paid for timberland between 2007 and 2009, anti-corruption prosecutors said in a statement Jan. 21, the day after Lipan Secu was arrested. Lipan Secu collected bribes valued at 4.45 million lei ($1.3 million), as well as a 2007 trip to the Canary Islands and a Chrysler Sebring car, prosecutors said. He was also charged with money laundering, and his wife, Mariana, was arrested for complicity. The two are being held in preventive custody in Bihor county and are facing more than 10 years in jail.

Harvard Overpaid for Timber as Romanian Agent Held for Bribery [Bloomberg]

26 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (26)

  1. Posted by The Defense | January 29, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    Your honor, as the Chrysler Sebring (hereinafter defined, "POS,") had over 25,000 miles on it, any residual value beyond its initial purpose as a child's play thing had been extinguished. My client was within his rights as a citizen of planet Earth to confiscate said POS, for his use as a conveyance and/or communal toilet.

  2. Posted by Casino Comedian | January 29, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    I'd bribe them not to give me that car!

  3. Posted by Guest | January 29, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    It's Romania, what do you expect? Sebring is a fucking unheard of luxury.

  4. Posted by best headline ever | January 29, 2014 at 1:50 PM
  5. Posted by Laxbro | January 29, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    Heard Count Dracula drove a sick Chrysler 300.

  6. Posted by Laxbro | January 29, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    Borat: If this car drive into a group of gypsies, will there be any damage to the car?

  7. Posted by V. Borodin, CFA | January 29, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    I will live in Cambridge. And I will marry a round Women's Studies major and raise Winklevii, and she will smother them at a young age. And I will have a Dodge Ram.. maybe even a "recreational vehicle." And drive from state to state pitching endowments offering them my services. Do they let you do that?

    -List of demands submitted to Harvard Endowment in exchange for not ripping them off

  8. Posted by HighFrequencyHater | January 29, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    "Under Romanian law, a person who reports a crime before it comes to the attention of prosecutors receives immunity, Saplacan said, adding that the sellers won’t be investigated."

    Love the game theory aspect of this.

  9. Posted by Alt_EST | January 29, 2014 at 2:18 PM


  10. Posted by Dragos | January 29, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    You can always tell a Harvard man, you just can't tell him much. Other than to buy trees. You can always tell him to buy trees.

  11. Posted by Laxbro | January 29, 2014 at 2:25 PM

    Yea, Romania is a horrible country.

    – some Anthony Bourdain show filmed in Romania
    – my parents preferred to get wasted in France and Italy during holidays
    – vaguely recall something from AP world history, but I was smoking hella weed during that time in my life

  12. Posted by Guest | January 29, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    "Whenever there's a great disaster, there always seems to be a Harvard Man in the middle of it."

    -Thomas Sowell

  13. Posted by guest | January 29, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    always with the three names

  14. Posted by guest | January 29, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    Except at Harvard itself, where an Oxford man set up the endowment for its '08 plunge.


    a certain mustachioed ex-PIMCOite

  15. Posted by Guy | January 29, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    I use Bourdain to source all of my cultural knowledge and anecdotes.

  16. Posted by Guest | January 29, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    This is why college endowments should farm their money out to alternative asset managers. A real investment professional would never get suckered into buying overpriced trees.

    – J. Paulson

  17. Posted by Grammar Police | January 29, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    Not really. It should be "whom" not "who."

  18. Posted by Guest | January 29, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    So if Lipan Secu (stupid name) had reported being bribed, he'd have gotten off and kept the goods? Block life baby.

  19. Posted by Laxbro | January 29, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    I remember during my junior and senior year this school called Hartwick College was blowing up my email and mailbox at my house. Every week another huge packet of information via Fed Ex. Finally I called them to tell this D III shithole to chill. "Sir, you checked the Hartwick box on your SAT."

    "I checked Harvard, chief"

  20. Posted by Rza, Gza, ODB | January 29, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    Preach brother

    – Wu Tang Financial

  21. Posted by biglawinsecure | January 29, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    trick question, everyone in Europe knows that Romanians are gypsies.

  22. Posted by Bored Guest | January 29, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    Here all week?

  23. Posted by Casino Comedian | January 29, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    Make a left at the fountain and head towards the slot machines.

  24. Posted by Rob J. | January 30, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    Should have diversified his bonds.

  25. Posted by OMG | February 3, 2014 at 5:09 AM

    OMG ! People are easy to be manipulated.

    Just by chance…I know very well this subject

    1. Let's discuss about numbers:
    The price of 1 ha (arround 2 acres) of forest in Romania is 2500-3500 -the lowest price in EU.

    In France,Germany,etc. the price is above 10000 euro/ha!!!

    The aquisition was checked and rechecked by lawers !!! and the average price of 1 ha was 2600 euro/ha !!!

    So no inflated price at all!!! I say exactly the opposite-the lowest price of forest foreign investors in Romania

    2. Let's discuss about allegations

    This scandal was started by a former forest broker.This guy was very happy at that moment.This aquisittion proces was a gold mine for him and at that moment nobody claim nothing.In the meantime this broker spent all the money and also in this moment is sick and start to have financial problems.Many former colaborators borrowed him many and no chance to pay them back.The last chance was to make a huge scandal and hope that in this way nobody ask him the money back.Something like:"You see what I'm capable to do,so don't ask me your many back because I'm dangerous".

    And the srory is very complicated…no space here to discuss.

    My advice…to all ignorants: don't speak about something that you don't know!

  26. Posted by Truth be told | February 5, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    How do you know about the case? Anyway, it seems like you are right in both cases!