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NIH-Grant Researchers Charged by U.S. in China Bribe Scheme

Three former employees of a New York-based university were charged in a bribery scheme tied to research funded under a multi-million dollar grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health on magnetic resonance imaging.

The three conspired to have a Chinese medical imaging company provide them financial benefits in exchange for research and non-public information being developed at the unidentified university, according to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office.

Yudong Zhu, a Chinese national who was a former associate professor at the university, and Xing Yang, a Chinese citizen who was employed by the university as a research engineer, were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said Peter Donald, a spokesman for the FBI’s New York office. A third defendant, Ye Li, who the U.S. said was employed at the university as a post-doctoral fellow, remains at large, Donald said.

All three are charged in a complaint unsealed today with one count of commercial bribery conspiracy. Zhu is charged with one count of falsification of records. Lawyers for Zhu and Yang couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on the charges. Zhu and Yang are set to appear in federal court in Manhattan today.

Three people with the same names as the defendants are listed in the directory of the New York University Langone Medical Center in the radiology department, according to the university’s website. A university spokeswoman didn’t immediately return a voice-mail message left at her office seeking comment.

The case is U.S. v. Zhu, 13-mag-1309, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Hurtado in New York at pathurtado@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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