Federal trial begins for GenPhar founder
The trial for the founder of the biotechnology firm GenPhar will begin today in federal court. Jian-Yun “John” Dong, 55, was indicted in September 2011.
He’s accused of using false claims and bogus paperwork to steal $3.6 million worth of federal grant money that was intended for research on vaccines for the deadly Ebola and Marburg viruses. Authorities say he used the money to pay for lobbying and to entertain a mistress in China, among other things.
Dong is also accused with his estranged wife, Danher Wang, of making illegal campaign contributions to Sen. Lindsey Graham and his political action committee. Graham is not accused of any wrongdoing. Graham’s office and federal prosecutors have maintained that Graham has cooperated with investigators and that he had no knowledge that the donations were suspect at the time they were made. It’s unclear whether Graham will be called to testify at Dong’s trial.
Last week Wang, 53, pleaded guilty in federal court under an agreement with prosecutors that likely limits her maximum punishment to two years in prison and a $200,000 fine.
She’s expected to testify against Dong during this week’s trial. Wang is expected to be sentenced at a future date.
Check back here for updates as the trial resumes this week.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.
Editor’s Note: Previous versions of this story incorrectly described the status of Jian-Yun “John” Dong with Mount Pleasant biotechnology company GenPhar. Dong is the company’s founder, president and chief scientific officer. The Post and Courier regrets the error.