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University Embezzlement Scandal Takes Dramatic Turn

Posted September. 06, 2010 13:39,   


An embezzlement scandal at Sogang University in Seoul has taken a dramatic turn.

Sogang faculty members have accused a fellow professor of embezzling research funds, but in the process of investigation, the accusers are found to have fabricated evidence to support their charge. Sogang blamed excessive competition among professors for this embarrassing situation.

Four professors reported to Sogang University President Lee Jong-wook that a professor in the same department embezzled research funds worth more than 100 million won (85,000 U.S. dollars). The money was supposed to be used to turn the university into a world-class research institution.

The university’s educational foundation began an audit and the accused professor submitted his resignation in June. The university, however, rejected the resignation so that it could impose a heavy punishment on him and another professor who filed an embezzlement complaint with Seoul prosecutors July 27.

The accusing professor said, “Students of the (accused) professor said he embezzled research funds by using their bank accounts and confirmed that he had an inappropriate relationship with one of his students.”

In the investigation, however, the students denied this. One of them with whom the accusing professor claimed to have a conversation said, “The (accusing) professor asked me about the embezzlement case but I didn’t acknowledge it and have no knowledge of an inappropriate relationship.”

“The (accusing) professor made the threat that something unfavorable will happen to me unless I handed him a copy of the bank book (used for embezzlement).”

Due to these conflicting statements, the university expanded its investigation to cover faculty members in the department. Certain professors said the accusing professor attacked them for not cooperating with him and circumstantial evidence of his sending of threatening e-mail messages to students was also secured.

So the university will grill the accusers in a disciplinary committee meeting Tuesday.

A source at the educational foundation said, “Since the accusers allegedly abused the human rights of students, we have no choice but to investigate them.”

This war of slander among professors has thrown the Sogang University department in question into chaos.

A faculty member who knows the relationship between the two professors well said, “They graduated from the same university and have been on bad terms with each other,” adding, “When (the accusing) professor discovered the other’s alleged embezzlement, it seemed (the accusing) professor conducted a secret investigation and made the charge against (the accused) professor out of jealousy.”