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3 NYU Researchers Charged in Bribery Case

On May 20 the U.S. charged three researchers with New York University for allegedly conspiring to take bribes from Chinese research and medical facilities to divulge details on research into magnetic resonance imaging technology at the university.

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On May 20, the U.S. charged three researchers at New York University (NYU) for allegedly conspiring to take bribes from Chinese research and medical facilities to divulge details on research into magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology being conducted at the university.

Charged with commercial bribery conspiracy in relation to the U.S.-funded research at NYU are Ye Li, 31; Xing Yang 31, amd Yudong Zhu, 44, according to a criminal complaint filed in the the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Zhu was also charged with faking records dealing with a $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, a prosecutor told Reuters.

According to the FBI and federal prosecutors, the three researchers planned to give United Imaging Healthcare, a Chinese medical imaging company funded by China's government, confidential details on MRI research at NYU in exchange for payments.

"As alleged, this is a case of inviting and paying for foxes in the henhouse," Preet Bharara, a Manhattan U.S. Attorney, said in a statement to Reuters. Bharara added the selling of research secrets "is a serious crime and will not be tolerated by this office."

Prosecutors told Reuters Yang and Zhu were arrested at their New York homes while Li is said to have traveled to China on May 10 before he and his colleagues were charged.

NYU spokesperson Kathy Lewis told Reuters the researchers worked at NYU Langone Medical Center, which was not named in the complaint. The three have been suspended from the university, which is working with officials as the investigation continues, she added.

"NYULMC is deeply disappointed by the news of the alleged conduct by its employees," Lewis said in a statement to Reuters.

- with files from Reuters