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In US, Ex Harvard Professor Convicted For Hiding Affiliation With China

An ex-Harvard University professor has been convicted of hiding his ties to a China run recruitment programme. The trial on Charles Lieber began.


(Image: AP)

An ex-Harvard University professor has been convicted of hiding his ties to a China-run recruitment programme. The trial on Charles Lieber began earlier this month at a Boston Court wherein the prosecutors accused him of hiding his Chinese income from US officials. On Tuesday, the judge pronounced their verdict declaring him guilty of making false statements to the authorities, filing false tax returns and failing to report a Chinese bank account. Notably, Lieber has pleaded no guilty.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that the 62-year-old educationalist intentionally hid his involvement in China’s ‘thousands talent programme’, which aims to attract foreign research specialists. According to BBC, after retiring from Harvard University in 2011, Lieber joined Wuhan Institute of Technology.  As a scientist, he got a monthly salary of $50,000 (£37,000), in addition to living expenses of up to $158,000 for this role. In addendum, the professor also received a monthly allowance of over US$1.5 million for the establishment of a scientific laboratory. In return, was expected to work for the university, applying for patents and publishing articles in its name.

'Failed to reveal his conflict of interest'

He had previously served as the head of Harvard University’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical biology and has also received $15m in grants from the US National Institute of Health and the US Department of Defence. Now according to American law, all recipients of this award are required to disclose any conflict of interest that they have including working for a foreign government. During the trial, the prosecutors highlighted that Lieber not only hid his association with the Chinese institute but also failed to declare the total amount of income that he had clandestinely earned from there. 

“There is now no question that Charles Lieber lied to federal investigators and to Harvard in an attempt to hide his participation in the Chinese Thousand Talents Program,” Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell said. “He lied to the IRS about the money he was paid, and he concealed his Chinese bank account from the United States. The jury followed the evidence and the law to a just verdict," he added.

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