Former Harvard chemistry chair faces more charges stemming from alleged China ties
- The former Harvard University chemistry department chair faces additional charges stemming from his alleged secret ties to China.
- The Justice Department announced a superseding indictment accusing him of filing false tax returns and not reporting foreign accounts.
The former head of Harvard University's Chemistry Department faces additional federal charges stemming from his alleged secret ties to China.
Campus Reform reported in January that Charles Lieber had been indicted for allegedly failing to disclose to U.S. authorities that he worked for the Wuhan Institute of Technology through the Chinese-funded Thousand Talents Program, which the FBI has said "pose[s] a serious threat to U.S. businesses and universities through economic espionage and theft of intellectual property."
Lieber was previously indicted on two counts of making false statements to federal authorities, to which he pleaded not guilty in June.
The Justice Department announced Tuesday new charges against Lieber, including two counts of filing false tax returns and two counts of failing to report foreign accounts. Prosecutors allege that in 2012, Lieber opened an account at a Chinese bank and that the Wuhan Institute of Technology deposited funds into that account in 2013 and 2014.
The DOJ alleged that as part of a three -year contract with China's Thousand Talents Program, Lieber received a monthly salary of as much as $50,000 as well as $150,000 in living expenses. He was also awarded $1.5 million to establish a research lab at the Wuhan Institute of Technology, according to the Justice Department. The indictment alleges that Lieber did not report payments he received from WIT to the IRS for tax purposes and that he did not disclose the existence of the foreign account to which the funds were deposited.
Harvard University previously said that it “is cooperating with federal authorities..and is initiating its own review of the alleged misconduct.”
Lieber's attorney Marc Mukasey has said that "the government has this wrong."
“Professor Lieber has dedicated his life to science and to his students. Not money, not fame, just his science and his students. He is the victim in this case, not the perpetrator. But he’s also a fighter — he always has been — so we’re not taking this lying down. We’re fighting back. And when justice is done, Charlie’s good name will be restored and the scientific community again will be able to benefit from his intellect and passion," Mukasey said, according to Politico.