The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston announced today it has charged Charles Lieber, the chair of Harvard University’s department of chemistry and chemical biology and a prominent nanoscience researcher, with making a false statement to federal investigators about his financial ties to a university and foreign talent recruitment program in China.
In unrelated cases, prosecutors simultaneously filed charges against two Chinese nationals, Yanqing Ye and Zaosong Zheng, who had been enrolled in scientific research programs at universities in Massachusetts.
Lieber, 60, is one of the highest-profile researchers to be caught up in a wide-ranging U.S. government effort to crack down on what officials have alleged is a systematic effort by China to take unfair advantage of federally funded research. He "is one of the most distinguished scientists of our time," says chemist Omar Yaghi of the University of California, Berkeley. "He has made tremendous contributions to chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering.” Harvard has placed Lieber on “indefinite” paid administrative leave, according to the Harvard Crimson.