A major scandal broke when it was revealed that dozens of famous celebrities, CEOs and prominent figures were arrested for bribing prestigious universities in the United States so that their kids could get into the schools. A Canadian businessman was arrested as part of the bribing scheme as well. David Sidoo has now paid a $1 million dollar bail and he has pleaded not guilty in court to the college bribery scandal.
David Sidoo was charged with "conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud by cheating on college entrance exams and submitting falsified test scores to colleges," said the indictment from the U.S. Department of Justice. He is a well-known Vancouver philanthropist and businessman. Sidoo attended UBC and even used to play professional football for the CFL.
Sidoo appeared in U.S. court today in Boston on Friday, March 15. He pleaded not guilty to all charges. He had not one but three lawyers representing him – David Chesnoff, Richard Schonfeld and Martin Weinberg, according to The Vancouver Sun. Chesnoff has even represented famous A-list celebrities before, such as Cristiano Ronaldo and the family of Michael Jackson.
"He looks forward to fully contesting the charges in a well-respected court and not in the media," said Sidoo’s lawyers in a statement. "He will be returning to his home in Canada and asks people not to rush to judgment."
The Vancouver businessman was accused of paying someone $200,000 to take his sons' SAT exams. The falsified scores of the SAT exam were reportedly sent to universities, and both of his sons ended up getting admitted into universities they applied for with those scores. The indictment alleged that he has also paid someone else to write exams for his sons on a number of other occasions.
His lawyer, Chesnoff, also stood by his plea and claimed that Sidoo was not guilty. "Why do I say not guilty? Because he’s not guilty," Chesnoff told reporters outside the courtroom, The Vancouver Sun reports.
Sidoo paid a hefty price for his release after he was arrested earlier this week on Tuesday, March 12. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Massachusetts, Boston said that he was "released on $1.5 million US secured bond". The UBC alum is now only allowed to travel within the U.S. and Canada.
Sidoo was previously the president of a Canadian oil and gas company. He has since stepped down from his role amidst the scandal. East West Petroleum Corp. announced yesterday in a news release that he was no longer the president and CEO of the company.
"As has been mentioned in the media Mr. Sidoo has been named in legal proceedings from the US government," reads the release. "In light of this legal action Mr. Sidoo has decided it would be in the best interests of the Company to take a leave of absence from his executive role in the Company."