SEOUL, Feb. 6 (Xinhuanet) -- South Korean Board of
Audit and Inspection (BAI) on Monday said disgraced stem cell researcher Hwang
Woo-suk mismanaged a huge amount of state funds and public donations for his
research in the past years.
The state audit agency made the
conclusion after its three-week investigation over the allegation that Hwang
embezzled funds gave to his team for research.
"The cloning expert has been given a total of 24.6
billion won (25.36 million U.S. dollars) in state and private research donations
so far. It includes 18.6 billion won (19.1 million dollars) in government funds
and 6 billion won (6.18 million dollars) in civilian funds," said the BAI in a
report of its investigation.
However, among the total sum, only 16.4 billion won
(16.9 million dollars) spent over the past five years were made under the
scrutiny of the BAI.
Hwang is also suspected of having embezzled 2.5
billion won (2.57 million dollars) of the state funds and private donations, the
BAI said in the report, adding it will send the materials over the embezzlement
to the prosecution for further investigation.
The agency also pointed out Hwang managed most of the
donated funds through his nine personal bank accounts, and there were some
irregularities in the management.
Hwang was found transmitted 200 million won (206,000
dollars) state funds to his private accounts during April 2004 to April 2005.
Hwang also put 700 million won (721,649 dollars) of
private donations received via a foundation into his time deposit account last
year and withdrew them in cash later, it added.
He was also found not to report most of the private
donations to the Seoul National University, where he served as professor. Hwang
is required to receive the permission of the university before accepting or
using private donations.
Moreover, some of the private donations were even
used on 10 politicians and as spending of foreign professors visiting Hwang's
research team, according to the auditors.
After the BAI announced its report on the
investigation, South Korean prosecution vowed to investigate fully into the
embezzlement charges over Hwang as it has now taken control of theaudit-related
materials from the BAI.
The discredited professor and his team have been
under investigation by South Korea's prosecutors over their fabrication on two
papers since mid January.
The Ministry of Science and Technology also said it
will confiscate any embezzled money that prosecutors turn up during their
The BAI's probe came after the Seoul National
University concluded after investigation that Hwang fabricated facts in his two
papers publicized by U.S.-based journal of Science in 2004 and 2005.
In the 2004 paper, Hwang's team claimed it for the
first time cloned a human embryo, and extracted a stem cell line from it, while
in the 2005 one it claimed it successfully cloned 11 patient-specific stem
The U.S. journal retracted Hwang's papers after he
publicly admitted that most of his research data had been falsified.