Federal authorities charged former Harvard Chemistry chair Charles M. Lieber in a superseding indictment with tax offenses for failing to report income he received from Wuhan University of Technology, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday. He was previously indicted last month on charges of making false statements.
A federal grand jury indicted Lieber on two counts of making and subscribing a false income tax return and two counts of failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts with the IRS. In June 2020, Lieber was indicted on two counts of making false statements to federal authorities about his participation in China’s Thousand Talents Program.
The Chinese government established the Thousand Talents Program in 2008, seeking to attract scholars from across the world to contribute to Chinese development. The U.S. government has since said the program poses a danger to national security.
Representatives of Wuhan University of Technology in China allegedly asked Lieber to participate in the Thousand Talents Program. He signed a three-year contract as a One Thousand Talent “high level foreign expert” in 2012, according to charging documents.
Lieber allegedly received income from the Wuhan University of Technology in 2013 and 2014 that he failed to report on his federal tax returns, according to the indictment.
He also allegedly failed to report in 2014 and 2015 that he held a foreign bank account with a value of over $10,000, as required by federal law. Wuhan university officials helped him open a Chinese bank account in 2012, where they deposited portions of his salary, according to the indictment.
Lieber’s lawyer, Marc L. Mukasey, wrote in a statement Tuesday that the indictment is “flat-out wrong.”
“The notion that Professor Lieber was engaged in improper work with China is laughable,” Mukasey wrote. “He didn’t hide anything, and he didn’t get paid as the government alleges.”
“He is innocent and his name will be cleared,” Mukasey added.
Lieber is scheduled to appear before a judge for a virtual status conference Thursday.
University officials declined to comment Tuesday evening.
—Staff writer James S. Bikales can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamepdx.
—Staff writer Kevin R. Chen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @kchenx.