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Morgan Stanley FA Fired Over College Admission Scandal Fires Back

May 3, 2019

The former Morgan Stanley financial advisor fired over his alleged role in the sweeping U.S. college admissions bribing scandal plans to take legal action to clear his name, according to news reports.

Michael Wu had allegedly introduced a Chinese family to William "Rick" Singer, the founder, CEO and master coach of the Key Worldwide Foundation who pleaded guilty in March to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and obstruction of justice. The family allegedly paid Singer $6.5 million to help get their child into Stanford University. Morgan Stanley fired Wu in March for allegedly failing to cooperate with its investigation into the scandal.

But Wu’s lawyer, Raymond Aghaian, a partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, tells the South China Morning Post that his client was misled about the $6.5 million payment as going toward salaries and scholarships, attempted to cooperate with Morgan Stanley’s investigation and was fired while out of the country.

Moreover, Aghaian tells the paper that it was the wirehouse itself that introduced Wu to Singer “as a trusted service provider.”

Morgan Stanley told the Wall Street Journal earlier this week that Singer’s college counseling business was at one point on its list of referral organizations, and a source familiar with the arrangement told the paper that Singer’s firm was removed from the list after 2015.

“Mr. Wu will pursue any and all available legal recourse to vindicate his rights,” Aghaian tells the South China Morning Post. He did not disclose where Wu would file legal action, the paper writes.

Meanwhile, the mother of the student accepted into Stanford was also allegedly misled about the $6.5 million payment, Bloomberg writes.

(iStock Photos)

The mother of Yusi Zhao, identified only as Mrs. Zhao, also believed she was donating to the university “for the salaries of academic staff, scholarships, athletics programs and helping those students who otherwise will not be able to afford to attend Stanford,” her lawyer, Vincent Law, a Hong Kong-based partner at Mayer Brown, tells the news service in a statement. Zhao made the payment to Singer’s organization at his request close to a month after her daughter received an offer from Stanford, the lawyer tells Bloomberg.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the Bloomberg article cited in this story, click here.
  • To read the South China Morning Post article cited in this story, click here.