GoodLifeStudio/iStockBy LUKE BARR, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — The government on Monday unsealed a wire fraud charge against a University of Arkansas professor and NASA researcher with ties to the Chinese government.
Simon Saw-Teong Ang allegedly failed to disclose ties with the Chinese government and Chinese companies while also being employed as a professor at the University of Arkansas and accepting NASA research grant money.
A lawyer for Ang has not responded to an ABC News request for comment.
According to court documents, “Ang had close ties with the Chinese government and Chinese companies, and failed to disclose those ties when required to do so in order to receive grant money from NASA.”
Emails in the court documents show that Ang had conversations with a researcher in China about concealing his relationship to the Thousand Talents Program, a Chinese run initiative aimed at increasing Chinese presence around the world.
“Not many people here know I am [a Thousand talents program scholar] but if this leaks out, my job here will be in deep troubles,” Ang wrote. “I have to be very careful or else I may be out of my job from this university.”
“Please keep this to yourself as I trust you,” he wrote.
The FBI was alerted to Ang’s activity after he was mentioned in a Chinese news article highlighting some of the accomplishments of Thousand Talent Program scholars.
Court documents say that Ang held positions in China while also being employed by the University of Arkansas.
This is just the latest in a string of Department of Justice charges related to ties to China. The Justice Department recently convicted and sentenced a former Emory University professor on similar charges.
The Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security also released guidance that China is targeting COVID-19 related cyber research through the cyber intrusions.
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