A former federal scientist for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has been charged with fraud and breach of trust for allegedly working covertly for a Chinese university while employed by the Canadian government.
The RCMP issued a statement on December 10 saying that 65-year-old Yantai Gan was arrested on November 9, 2019, from the AAFC facility in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, following an investigation led by the National Security Enforcement Section of the force.
Crop Scientific Gan was charged with breach of trust by a public official, fraud of more than $5,000 and proceeds from crime of more than $5,000, the statement said.
The RCMP now only made Gan’s arrest public, before appearing in Swift Current Court on 13 December. No further details of Gan’s crimes were provided as the matter is before the courts.
However, according to a charge document released earlier this year, the RCMP alleged that Gan, who began working for the AAFC in 1999, failed to tell his employer that he had moved to the northwestern city of Lanzhou in China. Worked for Gansu Agricultural University (GAU). The Globe and Mail reports.
According to an affidavit sworn by RCMP constable Cody Thompson, Gana signed a one-year contract with the university from June 1, 2012, where he was tasked with developing talent and publishing in magazines, the Globe reported. went.
Gana was entitled to a salary of about $130,000 to $150,000 per year, along with allowances such as a housing allowance. During that period, he continued to receive his AAFC salary, as well as a living allowance of $34,000 from the federal agency.
The RCMP alleges that Gan did not disclose his contract with GAU or his salary to the AAFC, although the agency gave him a one-year work transfer, allowing him to do research at a Chinese university as an AAFC employee.
As part of assembling a research team for a project at Gansu Agricultural University in 2017, Gan used AAFC resources to reach more than 20 agricultural scientists in other countries, Thompson said in the affidavit. According to the affidavit, the draft sent to the scientists included proposals for five-year appointments in GAU.
Thompson said in the affidavit that he had interviewed several of GAU’s seniors at the AAFC, who were concerned that the scientists were “inappropriately exchanging intellectual knowledge through their association with GAU.”
According to the Globe, the RCMP began investigating Gan in 2018, after Canada’s Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center found some of his financial activities suspicious, including transfers from a bank in China to his accounts in Canada.
In addition to his ties with the Chinese university, the RCMP alleged that Gan failed to disclose his work with pasta company Barilla America, which paid him approximately $24,000 for a 2014 contract, which Gan also received from the AAFC. Hide.
The Globe reported that one of Gan’s seniors at the AAFC said in an affidavit that the funding he allegedly received from outside sources “appears to be sharing information, expertise, material or output without the agency’s knowledge.” “.
Gan is not the only case in which a Canadian federal employee has been charged with illegal activities in relation to companies or entities in China.
On 8 December, the RCMP accused Wanping Zheng, a former Canadian Space Agency engineer, of a breach of trust for acting outside of his duties at the federal agency in an attempt to help a Chinese aerospace company negotiate a deal with Iceland. Was accused. satellite station facilities.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service has repeatedly warned about espionage activities by foreign actors, particularly China and Russia.
In recent years, Canada’s allies have also become increasingly concerned about China stealing critical government or commercial intelligence through compromised professionals, such as those recruited by the Communist regime’s Thousand Talent Plan, a state-run program. Which aims to attract global experts to bite into China. -Advanced technologies developed by foreign countries.