According to the SEC, from 2013 to 2015, Bahn engaged in a scheme to make an improper payment to influence an official at a foreign sovereign wealth fund of an unnamed country in the Middle East (“the Fund’) to buy property Bahn had been hired to sell. The property was a commercial office building in Vietnam known as Landmark 72. Specifically, the SEC alleged that Bahn was contacted by an unnamed accomplice, who represented to Bahn that he had connections to the government officials with the authority to make the Fund acquire Landmark 72. The SEC alleged that Bahn’s accomplice claimed that a foreign official at the Fund required a payment of approximately $1 million USD, some of which would be paid before the transaction, with the rest following the sale. Bahn and his accomplice allegedly used the code word “roses” to denote the amount requested, in thousands of dollars.
To facilitate the scheme, the SEC alleged that Bahn created two versions of the brokerage services agreement, in which the price to the property owners and Bahn’s brokerage firm differed by $100 million USD. Bahn also allegedly borrowed money from an acquaintance to fund the improper payment through Bahn’s accomplice to the foreign official, who agreed to finance the deal after Bahn was able to secure $500,000 from the property owner to Collier by misrepresenting the purpose of the payment.
According to the SEC, on April 16, 2014, Bahn caused a payment to be made to an entity controlled by the accomplice, with the intent that it would be forwarded to the official to secure the property purchase. However, the accomplice allegedly kept the payment himself and never was in contact with government officials or the Fund. Bahn also falsely represented that the sale of Landmark 72 had closed, which, in turn, caused Colliers to recognize the revenue in contradiction to its accounting practices. The Fund has officially maintained its lack of interest in purchasing Landmark 72 and delivered a cease-and-desist letter to Bahn.