WESTERN PRODUCER — Former Agriculture Canada researcher Yantai Gan is scheduled to go to trial next year on fraud and breach of trust charges.
Gan was working at the Swift Current, Sask., research centre when the offences allegedly occurred between Jan. 1, 2012, and June 30, 2018.
Court documents allege Gan entered into an unauthorized contract with Gansu Agricultural University in China, failed to disclose that relationship and the remuneration he received, and recruited for or organized an international research collaboration for the university.
Gan also allegedly had an unauthorized contractual relationship with Barilla America and failed to disclose that he had received $24,127.57 from that contract.
The documents say he filed more than one travel or expense claim that was false in whole or in part. He is said to have filed more than $2,000 in false expense claims to the University of Saskatchewan, failed to adhere to Agriculture Canada’s value and ethics code and failed to disclose conflict of interest.
All of these are contrary to Section 122 of the Criminal Code.
He is also charged with defrauding the public under Section 380 (1)(a) for receiving “transfer of work” allowances of more than $34,000, receiving his salary from June 1, 2012, to June 1, 2013, and the contract payments and expense claims.
The indictment said Gan had property or proceeds worth more than $5,000 “knowing that all or part of the property or proceeds was obtained by or derived directly or indirectly from the commission of an offence punishable by indictment to wit: breach of trust contrary to Section 122 of the Criminal Code and fraud contrary to Section 380(1)(a) of the Criminal Code, contrary to section 354(1) and 355(a) of the Criminal Code.”
Gan, now 66, was arrested in the fall of 2019 after a 21-month investigation by the RCMP, which focuses on alleged espionage, release of classified information and similar crimes.
However, that arrest wasn’t made public until two years later.
The researcher had worked in Swift Current since 1999 and was a member of the Royal Society of Canada.
He has not worked for the government since his arrest.
Last fall, the Globe and Mail media outlet reported that an affidavit filed in court by an RCMP officer said Gan’s colleagues at Agriculture Canada were concerned the scientist could be sharing information.
The jury trial is set to begin May 1, 2023.