Chinese ‘foxes in the henhouse’ at U.S. university blamed for theft of MRI research

Education // Healthcare and Public Health // New York, United States

The U.S. government accused three researchers who worked on MRI technology at a university in New York of stealing federally-funded research on behalf of a Chinese company.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “A alleged, this is a case of inviting and paying for foxes in the henhouse. These defendants allegedly colluded with representatives from a Chinese governmental entity and a direct competitor of the university for which they worked to illegally acquire NIH-funded research for the benefit of those entities, as described in the complaint. The defendants also allegedly deceived the university and others about their professional allegiances to competing Chinese interests. The acquisition of federally funded research for the benefit of these Chinese entities is a serious crime and will not be tolerated by this office.”.”

The three defendants each had undisclosed affiliations with United Imaging Healthcare (“United Imaging”), a Chinese medical imaging company, and the Shenzen Institute of Advanced Technology (SIAT), a Chinese government-sponsored research institute.

“Through an examination of university e-mail accounts, the university learned that from August 2011 through January 2013, individuals with e-mail addresses that included the domain corresponded with [two of the men] regarding issues related to MRI equipment prototypes, experiments, and project updates. These e-mails were sent to and/or from accounts including [one man’s] personal Gmail account, his United Imaging e-mail address, and [the other man’s] Hotmail account.