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 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 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.