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South Korea scientist found guilty of embezzlement and bioethics violations

[JURIST] The Seoul Central District court on Monday found Dr. Hwang Woo-Suk [BBC profile] guilty of embezzling research funds and bioethics violations. Hwang was acquitted on fraud charges and given a two-year suspended sentence instead of the four-year sentence requested by the prosecution. Hwang, who worked for the Seoul National University (SNU) [academic website], was charged [JURIST report] in 2006 with fraud, embezzlement, and violating bioethics laws for his claims that he had produced stem cell lines by cloning human embryos – a breakthrough that could lead to therapies for Alzheimer's disease and other now-incurable illnesses. SNU later discredted [report text] both claims.

Hwang, who is accused of using some USD $2.91 million dollars in public money to buy human eggs for his project, has apologized for the false claims but said he was deceived by two subordinates. Hwang sued SNU for reinstatement after his trial began [JURIST reports] in June 2006. In his reinstatement lawsuit, Hwang argued that Alzheimer's patients and others who could benefit in the future from Hwang's stem cell research were harmed by Hwang's dismissal, which prevented him from conducting further stem cell research. The UN called for a global ban [JURIST report] on human cloning [JURIST archive] in 2007.

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