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Prominent Harvard professor convicted of hiding China ties



(Washington) Charles Lieber, a prominent Harvard chemistry professor, was found guilty on Tuesday in a Boston federal court of hiding from authorities his links to a Chinese program suspected by the United States of economic espionage.

This 62-year-old professor, former head of the chemistry department of the prestigious American university, thus “lied to federal investigators and to Harvard in an attempt to conceal his participation in the Chinese” 1000 talents “program,” a prosecutor said in a statement. Federal Department of Justice, which brought the case.

This program “seeks to attract (experts) foreigners to bring their knowledge and experience to China, and often rewards certain members for theft of intellectual property”, explained the ministry in June 2020, during the indictment of the professor.

According to the prosecution, this nanotechnology specialist was also paid “up to $ 50,000 per month” for three years by the Institute of Technology in Wuhan, China, in addition to $ 150,000 in annual fees and 1 , $ 5 million for setting up a laboratory on site.

“Mr. Lieber exploited the openness and transparency of our academic system,” lamented the US federal police, the FBI, who arrested him in 2020.

After a six-day trial, he was found guilty of lying to federal authorities, failing to report certain income and failing to report an overseas bank account, according to a court document .

He had not declared the income of the Wuhan Institute of Technology to the US tax authorities in 2013 and 2014.

His conviction will be known later, but he risks several years in prison.

Under the Trump administration, the US Secretary of Justice had stepped up investigations into possible acts of economic espionage by China, the United States’ main economic adversary.

Charles Lieber is the most recognized scientist involved in this investigation, although he is not directly accused of economic espionage.

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