The founder of the Mount Pleasant based biotechnology company GenPhar was found guilty this afternoon on all but one of the seven counts against him in federal court.
Jian-Yun “John” Dong, 56, was found guilty on two counts involving illegal conduit campaign contributions, making false statements to investigators, and witness tampering. The jury found Dong not guilty on a count of making illegal campaign contributions through a conduit to a political action committee.
Dong convinced employees at GenPhar to make contributions to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham that they would later reimburse. Dong did this because he and his wife at the time, Danher Wang, had reached their maximum limit allowed for contributions.
The jury believed Dong was not guilty of the alleged conduit contributions made by Wang’s sister and brother-in-law to Graham’s political action committee. The couple were never reimbursed, according to testimony.
Graham was never accused of any wrongdoing. Prosecutors said he and member of his staff were unaware the contributions were tainted.
Dong believed that making contributions to Graham would lead the senator to steer federal funding toward GenPhar, which was developing vaccines for the Ebola and Marburg viruses, according to the prosecution. Dong said that wasn’t true when he testified on Thursday. He said he contributed to Graham because they shared similar beliefs and frequently referred to campaign contributions as a privilege.
Dong will be sentenced at a later date. He also faces another trial later this year for allegations of using false claims and bogus paperwork to steal $3.6 million worth of federal grant money that was intended for research on the vaccines for the Ebola and Marburg viruses. Authorities say he used the money to pay for lobbying and to entertain a mistress in China, among other things.
Read more in upcoming editions of The Post and Courier.