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Japanese scientist reaches deal in U.S. over stolen scientific data+
[April 14, 2006]

Japanese scientist reaches deal in U.S. over stolen scientific data+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)LOS ANGELES, April 14_(Kyodo) _ Japanese scientist Kayoko Kimbara and her Chinese husband and researcher Zhu Jiangyu accused of transporting stolen genetic information have reached a pretrial deal with prosecutors that spared them of criminal indictment, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Kimbara and Zhu, in papers filed in a federal court in Boston on Thursday, admitted to removing at least 20 cartons of materials from a Harvard Medical School laboratory, including research data and various biological materials, without permission and shipping them to the University of Texas in San Antonio, where Zhu had accepted a position to have his own lab.

Indictment against the couple was deferred for 12 months in exchange for an agreement that bars them from making any statement contrary to the court filings and violating any federal, state, or local laws.

Kimbara and Zhu were arrested by the FBI in San Diego, California, on June 19, 2002, on charges of conspiracy, theft of trade secrets, interstate transportation of stolen property and trying to profit by collaborating with a Japanese company while working at the Harvard Medical School cell biology department until December 1999.

The removed materials are believed to contain reagents which were made and used to develop new immunosuppressive drugs to control organ rejection and to study genes that regulate a key enzyme.

Kimbara and Zhu, free on bail residing in California, denied economic espionage allegations and any wrongdoing in the case, asserting they believed the materials they removed were their personal belongings.

Kimbara and Zhu were working at Harvard Medical School's Department of Cell Biology as postdoctoral research fellows.

The couple removed the materials from the Harvard laboratory at night and in the early morning hours between Dec. 27, 1999 and Jan. 1, 2000, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's office.

In mid-December 1999, Zhu accepted an offer to work at the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Texas in San Antonio starting in January 2000. At the time, Zhu had not disclosed his acceptance of a position at the University of Texas to the supervising faculty in the Harvard laboratory.

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