National Security

US professor arrested, accused of hiding relationship with Chinese university

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An associate professor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK) who was receiving funding from NASA has been arrested and charged by federal authorities with hiding his relationship with a Chinese university.

The Justice Department said Thursday in a press release that Anming Hu was arrested and charged with three counts of wire fraud and three counts of lying to investigators.

He is accused of hiding his relationship with the Beijing University of Technology (BJUT) while working with NASA on a project, a violation of federal laws that prevent NASA from providing funding for projects in collaboration with the Chinese government or Chinese university system.

It wasn’t clear what interest the Beijing university had with Hu’s project, or the nature of the project itself. Pages containing information about Hu’s work with UTK had been deleted from the school’s website by Thursday evening.

“Hu allegedly committed fraud by hiding his relationship with a Chinese university while receiving funding from NASA,” said Assistant Attorney General John Demers. “This is just the latest case involving professors or researchers concealing their affiliations with China from their American employers and the U.S. government. We will not tolerate it.”

“The United States Attorney’s Office takes seriously fraudulent conduct that is devised to undermine federally-mandated funding restrictions related to China and Chinese universities,” added U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey in the press release. “The University of Tennessee has cooperated with the investigation, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office values the university’s assistance in this matter.”

If convicted, Hu faces up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 for each of the three wire fraud counts.


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