WIKIMEDIA, DBKOVACHProsecutors have charged a Chinese researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCOW) with stealing a potential anti-cancer compound and related data for a Chinese University, reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (MJS).
Huajun Zhao, an associate researcher in Marshall Anderson’s lab at MCOW, faces a single count of economic espionage, for which he could be fined a maximum of $5 million and sentenced to as many as 15 years in prison.
According to a statement (dated March 29) from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), security video shows that Zhao was the last person seen entering an office where Anderson had left several vials of C-25, a putative cancer-fighting compound, before they went missing and were later reported stolen.
The FBI statement reports that Zhao “may have used his employment and position at MCOW to illegally acquire patented research material and taken steps to provide that material to Zhejiang University, a university in China.” MCOW officials have also accused Zhao of copying research data without permission from Anderson’s computer and deleting shared data from an MCOW computer, reported ScienceInsider.
Zhao was suspended from MCOW on February 27, and has since taken up a position as associate professor at Zhejiang University, according the MJS.
Zhao has denied the charges. His attorney, Juval Scott, told the MJS that this is a “complex case involving a talented professional accused of a serious crime, [and] we look forward to rolling up our sleeves on Dr. Zhao’s behalf."