U.S. charges Harvard professor with lying about ties to Chinese program

Jan. 28 (UPI) — The Justice Department said Tuesday it charged a Harvard University science professor with lying about his connections to a scientific research outfit in China.

Charles Lieber, chairman of the school’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, faces one count of making a materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement. He was arrested Monday.

Federal prosecutors said Lieber failed to notify the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health about his connection to China’s Thousand Talents Plan. The 60-year-old’s Lieber Research Group at Harvard received more than $15 million in grant money from the federal agencies.

As part of the conditions of receiving the grant money, he’s required to inform the government of any “significant foreign financial conflicts of interest.”

The Department of Justice said Lieber declined to notify the government of his work as a strategic scientist at Wuhan University of Technology in 2011. He also didn’t mention he did so as a contractual participant in China’s Thousand Talents Plan, which seeks to recruit “high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China’s scientific development, economic prosperity and national security.”

The Department of Justice said the plan encourages scientists to steal proprietary information.

Officials said the plan paid him $50,000 a month, living expenses of up to $158,000 per year and $1.5 million to establish a lab at WUT. Harvard apparently wasn’t aware of the arrangement.

Lieber allegedly told investigators he wasn’t asked to participate in the plan.


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