Harvard, Yale latest U.S. universities investigated for not reporting foreign cash

Harvard and Yale over the past four years have failed to disclose some $375 million in gifts and contracts from China and Saudi Arabia, the U.S. Department of Education said on Wednesday.

Charles Lieber leaves federal court in Boston after he was charged with lying about his alleged links to the Chinese government. / Reuters

According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. universities have failed to report they brought in $6.5 billion from foreign nations since 1990.

The Education Department said it is launching an investigation into foreign influence at the U.S. universities.

“This is about transparency,” Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said in a statement. “If colleges and universities are accepting foreign money and gifts, their students, donors, and taxpayers deserve to know how much and from whom.”

The investigation is part of an ongoing effort by the Education Department to crack down on foreign influence in U.S. higher education, particularly from China.

Related: Nanotech research tied to Wuhan University involved Harvard professor, PLA officer, February 4, 2020

Charles Lieber, the chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard, was arrested on Jan. 28 for allegedly collaborating with researchers in China. He was charged with lying about receiving tens of thousands of dollars from a Chinese university and lying to the Pentagon about the foreign money.

According to reports, Harvard had also sponsored a Chinese national, Zaosong Zheng, who was recently arrested at Boston Logan International Airport with 21 vials of cancer research material he had allegedly stolen and was attempting to smuggle to China.

“Unfortunately, the more we dig, the more we find that too many are underreporting or not reporting at all,” DeVos said. “We will continue to hold colleges and universities accountable and work with them to ensure their reporting is full, accurate, and transparent, as required by the law.”

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