Disgraced South Korean stem cell scientist Professor Hwang Woo-suk says he spent private donations for research to pay the Russian mafia for mammoth tissues to clone extinct species.
Hwang, once celebrated as a national hero, was indicted in May on charges of fraud and embezzlement after prosecutors said he was the mastermind of a scheme to make it look like his team had produced stem cells through cloning human embryos.
He previously told a Seoul court that he spent part of more than US$1 million in corporate donations for “peripheral activities related to research”.
“Some of the money was spent in contacting the Russia mafia as we tried to clone mammoths,” Hwang told the court during a hearing this week.
“But you can’t say that [on the expense claim] so we expensed it as money for cows for experiment.”