Friday, December 19, 2008


Friday, December 19, 2008 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Bribery probe targets Nobel jurors

The Associated Press

STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Nobel Prize jurors who accepted all-expenses-paid trips to China to discuss the coveted awards are being investigated on suspicion of bribery, a Swedish prosecutor said Thursday.

Anti-corruption prosecutor Nils-Erik Schultz said he wants to determine whether the trips in 2006 and 2008 were meant to influence the decisions of the Nobel committees. He declined to name the jurors or say how many were being investigated.

The probe was prompted by a Swedish Radio report that three jurors from the medicine, chemistry and physics committees were invited to China to explain the selection process and what it takes to win a Nobel Prize.

Chinese authorities paid for their travel, hotels and meals, the report said.

If charged and convicted, the jurors would face fines or up to two years in prison. However, Swedish prosecutors often drop preliminary investigations without pressing charges.

Gunnar Oquist, the permanent secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the Nobels in chemistry, physics and economics, acknowledged the trips were inappropriate.

"I think that if we had known that the Nobel Prize would be at the center of this trip, we probably would have discouraged our members from going," he added.

The last time China won a science price was in 1957, the Nobel Web site shows.

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said he had no information about the case.

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