Feds: 3 scientists conspired to take Chinese bribes for their U.S. research
May 22, 2013 -- Updated 1030 GMT (1830 HKT)
The criminal complaint said Yudong Zhu, 44 of Scarsdale, recruited two other scientists to aid him in MRI research.
- The three researchers were working on MRI technology at a U.S. university
- Their research was partially funded by a multimillion dollar National Institutes of Health grant
- Federal authorities allege that the three took Chinese money for their research
- The research went to a Chinese company and a government institution, authorities say
New York (CNN) -- Three university researchers working on medical technology are facing federal charges -- and up to 20 years in prison if convicted -- for allegedly taking Chinese money for their U.S.-funded research, according to federal authorities.
Their research was partially funded by a multimillion dollar National Institutes of Health grant, according to a criminal complaint.
The three -- Yudong Zhu, 44 of Scarsdale, and Xing Yang and Ye Li, both 31 of Hartsdale -- are each charged with one count of commercial bribery, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan. Zhu is also charged with one count lying about conflicts of interests in a federal research grant.
The three are Chinese nationals, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office. It was not clear from the statement what their status was while working in the United States.
"Instead of working exclusively for a New York research institution, the defendants took bribes to acquire research for the benefit of both a Chinese competitor and a Chinese government institution," said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos said.
The U.S. attorney's statement described the three as "researchers who worked on improving MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technology at a university in New York, New York." Although the statement did not name the university, the website of the New York University School of Medicine identifies Zhu as an associate professor conducting research focused on improving MRI technology.
The criminal complaint said Zhu recruited the other two scientists to aid him in the MRI research.
The defendants had undisclosed ties with a Chinese medical imaging company and a Chinese government-sponsored research institute conducting the same MRI research, according to federal authorities. The scientists allegedly shared private information stemming from their research in the United States with those Chinese institutions.
"As alleged, this is a case of inviting and paying for foxes in the henhouse," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Monday.
The researchers allegedly accepted thousands of dollars for travel, tuition and rent.
Zhu and Yang were arrested at their residences in New York Sunday, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Li is believed to have traveled to China before charges were brought.
Zhu and Yang appeared in court Monday and were both released on bond, according to Zhu's lawyer, Robert Baum.
"Many of the government's statements in the bail hearing misinterpreted facts which are actually consistent with his innocence," Baum told CNN Tuesday.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0254 GMT (1054 HKT)
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT)
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2100 GMT (0500 HKT)
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.