January 28, 2020
“What worries Andrew Lelling, U.S. attorney for the Massachusetts district, is that Lieber was allegedly paid to carry out research in China, which, combined with his failure to disclose those relationships, makes him potentially vulnerable to pressure from the Chinese government to do its bidding at some future point. “It was the amount of money involved that drew our attention,” Lelling says, referring to a 2012 contract included in court documents that indicates Lieber received $50,000 a month in salary and millions of dollars in research support. “That is a corrupting level of money.” Federal investigators were also alarmed, Lelling says, by how Lieber “brazenly” hid that relationship from Harvard and from the federal agencies that for decades have been funding his research on inorganic nanowires. “When people begin to hide things, that’s when law enforcement authorities get all excited.””
See also related article: “U.S. Prosecutor Leading China Probe Explains Effort that led to Charges Against Harvard Chemist,” Science, February 3, 2020, in which the prosecutor in the Lieber case discusses the reasons behind his charging decision.