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Bloomberg quotes Humphreys on Harvard’s sale of Romanian Timber


Harvard Management Co., the endowment arm of the university, has sold 33,600 acres of Romanian forests to Ikea Group, according to a Bloomberg report. The move was precipitated by last summer’s conviction of the agent hired by Harvard of bribery and money laundering. According to prosecutors, the agent--as part of an agreement with sellers--inflated the prices paid by Harvard-owned Scolopax Srl for the Romanian timberland in exchange for one million dollars in cash.

With this purchase, Ikea is now the largest private owner of Romanian forests; while the company did not say how much it paid for the land, it was put up for the equivalent of $116 million.

Michael McDonald and Irina Vilcu quote Croatan Institute President Joshua Humphreys on the timber sale: “It highlights the outsize risk of going into these frontier markets.”

To learn more about Croatan Institute's research, visit the Institutional Accountability program page.

To contact Joshua Humphreys, send an email to josh [at] croataninstitute.org.

Source: Michael McDonald and Irina Vilcu, “Harvard Exits Romanian Timber Woes, Selling Forests to Ikea,” Bloomberg, July 23, 2015.