Pimco says some staff used 'legitimate' services of college scandal mastermind
Ticker and trading information for Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCo) are displayed on a screen at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 5, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The figure at the center of the U.S. college cheating scandal spoke twice in the past decade at events hosted by Pacific Investment Management Co (Pimco), one of the world’s largest asset managers whose former chief executive is ensnared in the fraud, the company said on Friday.

Some Pimco employees also used William ‘Rick’ Singer’s “legitimate college prep services,” Pimco said in a statement.

“We have no information at this time, however, to indicate Pimco employees acted improperly in their private capacity,” Pimco said.

“Any such relationships with Mr. Singer are entirely 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,” the firm said.

Singer, who last addressed a Pimco event in 2015, is accused by federal authorities of bribing athletic coaches and arranging for phony test-takers to secure clients’ children spots at elite universities. One of the parents accused of paying Singer in the alleged scheme is Douglas Hodge, Pimco’s former CEO, who left the company in 2017.

Reporting by Jennifer Ablan; writing by Dan Burns; editing by Bill Berkrot