An irate businessman is going to court to recover money he donated to support Hwang Woo-suk, stating he made the donation based on the belief that the now disgraced scientist had created stem cells.
According to the Seoul Central District Court, the president of the company Taewan D&C applied for provisional seizure of his 600 million won ($609,137) donation from the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation. The businessman made an anonymous contribution in 2004 to a supporters¡¯ group for Dr. Hwang that was part of the foundation.
The former Hwang supporter, who wished to be identified only by his last name Shin, said he wanted the refund because he sees no more need to assist a scientist whose landmark research was ruled fraudulent by a peer review panel. ¡°The Seoul National University investigation committee said Dr. Hwang¡¯s 2004 and 2005 papers contained fabricated data, and Dr. Hwang also admitted that,¡± Mr. Shin said.
Because the foundation misled him into thinking Dr. Hwang was a prominent scientist, it has the responsibility to refund his contribution, Mr. Shin claimed. He plans to file a formal case with the court after the provisional seizure is granted.
Mr. Shin made the anonymous donation after domestic media reported that Dr. Hwang was suffering from a funding shortage in December 2004.
The Korea Science and Engineering Foundation said it was the first time a supporter has begun legal action to recover a donation. The foundation comes under the Science Ministry and has received about 3.3 billion won of donations to date.
by Ha Jae-sik for JD