Anderson, Christopher. "Investigation Confirms Murderer's Claims," Science 265 (22 July

 

Anderson, Christopher. "Investigation Confirms Murderer's Claims," Science 265 (22 July
1994), p. 463.

Nearly 2 years after Valery Fabrikant, a mechanical engineering researcher at Montreal's
Concordia University, gunned down four faculty members, the case continues to reverberate in
Canada.

Fabrikant shot his colleagues in August 1992 after he had accused the university of failing to
conduct a full investigation of his charges of research fraud and conflict of interest in his
department. Since then, a series of reports (Science, 17 June p. 1662) and investigations has
brought Canada's main science council to the view that, although nothing could justify
Fabrikant;s crime, some of the allegations he raised were correct.

Last week, Concordia released a financial audit that confirmed many of Fabrikant's charges of
corruption. The Natural Science and Engineering Council (NSERC) responded by freezing a
general research account at Concordia, as well as the accounts of three professors linked to the
affair.

Among its findings, the audit - originally requested by NSERC - determined that bothers
Seshadri and Thiagas Sankar, both professors of mechanical engineering, and former engineering
dean M.S.N. Swamy had submitted duplicate expense claims, camouflaged personal expenses to
look like university business expenses, and claimed expenses at identical times but different
locations. All three have agreed to leave Concordia, although they deny that they did anything
improper.

The amount in the university's general research account is less than $180,000, says NSERC
controlled Patricia Savye-McCuan, but NSERC has not ruled out freezing all $4.7 million given
directly to university researchers if it doesn't see reforms. Meanwhile, NSERC is investigating
whether it can bring criminal charges against the three Concordia researchers.