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Harvard professor imprisoned for concealing ties with China

Harvard professor imprisoned for concealing ties with China

A federal court in Boston found Charles Lieber, a professor of chemistry at the prestigious Harvard University, guilty of lying about his ties to China. The case is part of a broader initiative by US authorities to curb Chinese economic espionage.

Charles Lieber, 62, is a renowned nanoscientist who headed the Harvard University’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Until he came within sight of US authorities investigating economic espionage from China, he was arrested in January last year. There were several charges against him.

Lieber agreed to an appointment at Wuhan University in 2011, but kept the matter a secret. He also concealed his participation in a Chinese program to recruit people with knowledge of foreign technology to China.

He kept the income he made from this, about $50,000 a month, a secret. According to the attorney general, Lieber also received $1.5 million in grants for his Harvard projects and more than 150,000 euros to support his livelihood.

Nobel prize

When asked by the FBI, Lieber said he was “younger and dumber” when he collaborated with Wuhan University, and he believed the collaboration would help earn him recognition as a scientist and a chance to win a Nobel Prize.

“There is no doubt that Charles Lieber lied to federal and university investigators to cover up his ties to the Chinese program,” the plaintiff said Tuesday after a six-day trial. “He also lied about the money he got for this. The jury charged the evidence and came to the correct verdict.

Lieber took paid administrative leave from the university after his arrest last year. A new hearing will be held soon to decide on his sentence, but no date has been announced for that.

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