By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) – A senior NASA scientist pleaded guilty Wednesday to lying about his ties to a program that encourages researchers to develop relationships with China in exchange for grants, the department said Wednesday. of Justice of the United States. Meyya Meyyappan, 66, of Pacifica, California, presented her statement before US District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan. Prosecutors said Meyyappan participated in the Thousand Talents Program, a Chinese government program to recruit people familiar with foreign technology and intellectual property, and held professorships at universities in China, South Korea and Japan. Meyyappan withheld this work from NASA and the US Government Ethics Office, and falsely told investigators in an October 27 interview that he was not a member of the Thousand Talent Program and did not hold the professorship at China, prosecutors said. An attorney for Meyyappan did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The defendant faces up to six months in prison under the federal guidelines recommended in his sentencing scheduled for June 16, based on his plea agreement. NASA, or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, oversees the American civil space program and space research. He had no immediate comment. Prosecutors said Meyyappan joined NASA in 1996 and since 2006 has been chief scientist for exploration technology at its Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. The Justice Department has attempted to clamp down on perceived Chinese influence over American academia and researchers, including through alleged espionage and intellectual property theft, as part of the Trump administration’s broader hard line toward China. Last January, the department accused Charles Lieber, former chair of the Harvard University chemistry department, of lying about his participation in the Thousand Talents Program and funding for research from China. Lieber has pleaded not guilty.
NASA scientist pleads guilty to lying about ties to China By Reuters
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