The years-long scandal of Hwang Woo-suk, a former Seoul National University professor charged with fraudulent stem cell research, reached the end of its first chapter yesterday as the court handed down a suspended sentence of two years.
"Though Hwang fabricated the DNA photographs in his 2004 paper and the stem cell charts in his 2005 paper, he cannot be seen as having thus defrauded his sponsors or the public," said the ruling judge of the Seoul Central Court yesterday. The scientist received 2 billion won ($1.7 million) in research funds from corporations by displaying his seemingly successful research papers.
"The money was voluntarily donated by the corporations, regardless of the contents of Hwang's papers," ruled the court.
The prosecution and the court, however, decided that the scientific authenticity of Hwang's papers was to be judged by scientific circles and not by the court.
The scientist was also declared guilty of embezzling part of the money for personal use and illegal egg cell-trading by using borrowed name accounts, said the court.