New tricks again…

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Who is ‘Your friend’?

A libellous dirty tricks campaign has escalated again at a controversial Welsh university which we have revealed employed a crook, suspended its own Vice-Chancellor (VC) and launched an extraordinary top-level investigation into a questionable multi-million pound land deal, The Eye can disclose.

Now a further anonymous email in the campaign has been sent to Swansea University’s chair of council, Roger Jones as well as members of staff, in what it says is the “twelfth week of the suspensions drama” and mentions disparagingly our Editor as well as another highly-experienced journalist, saying details had been ‘leaked’.

Steve Chan – a crook employed by Swansea University exposed by The Eye

The disturbing news is set against a worrying background of the university employing a so-called academic called Steve Chan at its headline-grabbing School of Management even after he had been sentenced to many years in jail in America.

We have been alone in publishing information about Chan, who had been imprisoned following a massive fraud yet was employed by Swansea on a contract, before moving on to another company, and went to live with his mother in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Chan had been jailed by a court in Boston for four years and three months, and ordered to pay millions of dollars in compensation.

Chan was imprisoned by Boston law courts for more than four years and ordered to pay millions of dollars in restitution

His jail term was followed by three years of supervised release, after he admitted one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and one count of mail fraud – he was also ordered to pay restitution of $12,596,298.

Yet on March 1 2016 Chan appeared as a panellist representing Swansea University at a St. David’s Day event in Brussels called Digital Destination:  Creating Value and Improving Lives.

But the university appears to keep hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons even after the Chan episode, with now the scurrilous dirty tricks campaign being conducted as top officials jockeyed for position to take over at the scandal-hit institution, and which is designed to undermine the investigation into an extremely controversial regeneration scheme.

‘Your friend’ doesn’t like us…

The campaign in the form of anonymous emails marked ‘Your friend’ which makes libellous allegations, has been completely ignored by the mainstream media and Swansea University itself says it will not comment.

Our Editor Phil Parry as well as the Western Mail Business Editor Sion Barry, are cited in the latest message about the inquiry, and it claims we are ‘trolling’ the controversial Pro Vice-Chancellor (PVC) at Swansea Hilary Lappin-Scott, who has sent Twitter notifications from around the globe on Swansea University ‘business’ which have enraged her own staff.

This message in the long-running underhand campaign is again to Sir Roger as well as staff and headlined ‘Wilful Negligence/malfeasance’.

 

Are we ‘trolling’ Hilary Lappin-Scott?

In part it reads:   “Why are these things happening and being leaked to Sion Barry and, in turn, Phil Parry (someone trolling Professor Hillary {sic} Lappin-Scott) whilst in the middle of an independent internal investigation?”.

In the past ‘Your friend’ has supported the suspended VC Richard Davies as well as Professor Lappin-Scott, and said that she could lead the university to an ‘era of gold and honey’.

‘Your friend’ said Hilary Lappin-Scott’s ‘global recognition’ had been ‘negated’ and she could lead the university to ‘an era of gold and honey’

As The Eye have exclusively shown an earlier ‘Your friend’ email came in the form of a spoof letter ‘congratulating’ Professor Lappin-Scott on an alleged appointment.

It included previous messages, and in full stated:  “Dear Hillary (sic), Congratulations on the appointment.  Please, tweet your success and update your Wikipedia page. Your Registrar can advise on that..(libel)..Your friend  P.S.: I hope you will appoint Phil Parry as Director of Communications. That will be one in “the eye” for her friends in the East!”.

Sion Barry was also mentioned by ‘Your friend’

It added:  “Appended below you can find the previous installments (American spelling) and alleges there has been “A trial by media, a kangaroo court, a selection of evidence and suspensions before interviews – almost as if the facts were at odds with the desired outcome”.

Workers at Swansea have been ‘informed’: “P.S.: I remind you of the plea for Professor Richard B Davies’ reinstatement in time for the Graduation Ceremony – do not forget to vote (it is completely anonymous!)”.

Suspended Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University Richard Davies and the School of Management Dean Marc Clement are under investigation

Our journalists were the first to break the news that the unparalleled suspension of Professor Davies at Swansea as well as his senior executives, and the remarkable investigation launched at the same time, was linked to a massive £200 million regeneration scheme called the Delta Lakes (Llanelli Wellness Village) City Deal.

Apart from the ‘Wellness’ village, the university’s involvement in another enormous plan – this time overseas – is also part of the investigation.

Officials are examining a ‘joint venture’ in a £600 million proposal for a private medical university and hospital in Kuwait, which aimed to attract 5,000 students.

Mark James held a vital role in scheme under investigation

Professors Davies and Marc Clement, the dean of his School of Management who is also under investigation, were on the proposed academic board for the project.

The controversial Carmarthenshire council Chief Executive, Mark James, is listed as a trustee.

But anonymous comments to staff at Swansea from ‘Your friend’ soon followed the disturbing revelation.

Does ‘Your friend’ know the law?

In one, headlined ‘destruction of value and relationships’, a series of unlawful claims against a named individual were made in the email, and among the few lines we can publish is:  “I am confident we should expect retaliation by the Kuwaitis”.

Evidently he or she is unaware of legal rules because as these emails have been published to a third party they fall within the remit of libel laws.

If this person can be found legal action may follow.

We were ‘vexatious’ apparently

But apart from making ‘no comment’ about the anonymous email campaign, Swansea University officials have also been reluctant to give information about their crooked former employee Chan, and we have been told our questions about him were “vexatious”in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Four of the queries we asked in the FOIA were:

  • What was the exact date that Professor Steve Chan of the School of Management registered for his Ph.D at Swansea University? 
  • What was the exact date that he undertook his viva voce examination for his Ph.D? 
  • Who were the members of his Ph.D viva committee (including external examiners)? 
  • Who approved the appointment of the supervisors for his Ph.D? 

 

Why won’t Swansea University answer the questions?

Using documents we have seen we can now say the answer to the first question is October 2012, to the second May 2013, to the third – one is an academic called Andrew Parker.

Therefore according to Swansea University’s own regulations, Chan should not have been allowed to take his viva until at least October 2013.

Once this present investigation has been concluded, we will find out if Swansea University and their suspended senior executives did everything according to those regulations or NOT…

Tomorrow more from our political columnist about the chaos engulfing the Labour party over Brexit. 

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Our Editor Phil Parry’s memories of his 35-year award-winning career in journalism as he was gripped by the incurable disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), will soon be released in a major new book ‘A Good Story’. Pre-order the book now!