NEW YORK (Reuters) – The determine on the middle of the U.S. college dishonest scandal spoke twice previously decade at occasions hosted by Pacific Investment Management Co (Pimco), one of the world’s largest asset managers whose former chief government is ensnared within the fraud, the corporate mentioned on Friday.

David Sidoo (2nd R) — together with attorneys Richard Schonfeld (L), David Chesnoff and Martin Weinberg (R) — speaks exterior Boston federal courtroom after pleading not responsible to fees of collaborating within the largest college admissions fraud scheme in U.S. historical past in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Ross Kerber

Some Pimco workers additionally used William ‘Rick’ Singer’s “legitimate college prep services,” Pimco mentioned in an announcement. “We have no information at this time, however, to indicate Pimco employees acted improperly in their private capacity,” Pimco mentioned.

Singer, who final addressed a Pimco occasion in 2015, is accused by federal authorities of bribing athletic coaches and arranging for phony test-takers to safe purchasers’ youngsters spots at elite universities, akin to Stanford, Georgetown and Yale.

One of the dad and mom accused of paying Singer within the alleged scheme is Douglas Hodge, Pimco’s former CEO, who left the corporate in 2017. According to prosecutors, Hodge paid greater than $500,000 to allow two of his youngsters to realize admission to the University of Southern California (USC) as athletic recruits.

The Pimco assertion known as such relationships with Singer “the private affairs of individuals.”

“However, Pimco holds its employees to the highest ethical standards, so any employee found to have engaged in fraud or any illegal activity would have no place at the firm,” Pimco mentioned.

Pimco mentioned it “has never had a business relationship with Rick Singer or his college preparation organization.”

Some 50 folks together with distinguished executives, Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, and college sports activities coaches have been charged within the scheme. Prosecutors say Singer made about $25 million from the scheme.

FIRST PARENT TO PLEAD NOT GUILTY

Earlier on Friday, ousted Advantage Lithium Corp Chief Executive David Sidoo turned the primary of the 33 dad and mom charged within the rip-off to plead not responsible.

Sidoo, who was briefly changed by Advantage Lithium’s board of administrators on Thursday, declined to talk to a reporter as he entered the courtroom in Boston federal courtroom.

During a listening to that adopted, Sidoo mentioned little besides to acknowledge his rights and to say “not guilty” when requested how he would plead.

“He looks forward to fully contesting the charges,” Sidoo’s attorneys mentioned in an announcement emailed to Reuters by a publicist. “He will be returning to his home in Canada and asks people not rush to judgment.”

Advantage Lithium is within the course of of growing a possible Argentine lithium mine. Lithium is a critically essential ingredient used in manufacturing batteries for electrical automobiles.

Singer on Tuesday pleaded responsible to masterminding the scheme, which highlighted the lengths that rich and highly effective Americans would go to cheat the high-stakes and high-pressure college admissions system.

USC, one of the colleges concerned by means of bribes paid to sports activities coaches, has rescinded admissions presents to 6 college students concerned within the scheme. It mentioned it would assessment what actions to take towards present college students who took half.

A plaque is pictured at University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Other distinguished executives accused within the scheme embrace Manuel Henriquez, who resigned as CEO of specialty finance firm Hercules Capital Inc; Gordon Caplan, who has been positioned on depart from his submit as co-chairman of the worldwide regulation agency Willkie Farr & Gallagher; and TPG Capital non-public fairness companion William McGlashan Jr., who was fired by the agency on Thursday.

Loughlin was dropped by the corporate that owns the Hallmark cable channel because of her alleged half within the fraud, and LVMH’s Sephora magnificence chain ended a sponsorship take care of her daughter, Olivia. Loughlin’s husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, additionally has been charged.

Singer and the dad and mom alleged to have paid into the scheme may withstand 20 years in jail if convicted.

Reporting by Jennifer Ablan and Dan Burns in New york; Additional reporting by Ross Kerber and Nate Raymond in Boston, Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; enhancing by Bill Tarrant and Bill Berkrot

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