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article imageScientist accused of stealing cancer drug secrets for China

By Tim Sandle     Apr 9, 2013 in Crime
Hua Jun Zhao, a researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin, has been accused of stealing three vials of a development cancer drug with a view to sending the drugs and associated research data to China.
The accusation has been leveled against the researcher because a security video showed Hua Jun Zhao to be the only person who entered the area where the drugs and data are held on the day that the drugs went missing (February 22, 2013). Investigators later found similar research results on Zhao's computer, according to PharmPro.
The drugs were known as C-25 powder and were valued at $8,000 each. According to the Daily Mail, Federal authorities subsequently searched Zhao's home and found a receipt for shipment of a package to Zhao's wife along with two airline tickets from Chicago to China leaving a few days after the theft was said to have taken place. In addition, the investigators found an application to the National Natural Science Foundation of China for research funding for C-25.
Zhao was arrested March 29 and charged with economic espionage, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison along with a $500,000 fine. He will be held at Milwaukee County Jail until his trial.
Prosecutors, Chemistry World note, have accused Zhao of hoping to take the drugs and data to Zhejiang University, one of several Chinese schools that have been troubled by plagiarism, fraud and academic misconduct.
Hua Jun Zhao had previously studied at the university and his wife is currently living in China, providing prosecutors with an additional motive for the alleged crime (in addition to financial gain).
The FBI has issued a statement on this incident. According to Fox News it states:
“On March 29, 2013, Special Agents in the Milwaukee Division of the FBI arrested Hua Jun Zhao, age 42. Zhao is charged via a criminal complaint for knowingly engaging in economic espionage benefitting a foreign government, foreign instrumentality, or foreign agent in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1831 (a) (1)(2)(3).
Zhao is alleged to have used his employment and position at the Medical College of Wisconsin to illegally acquire patented cancer research material and taken steps to provide that material to Zhejiang University in China. The public is reminded individuals placed under arrest are presumed innocent until proven guilty.”
No date for the hearing has been set.
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