A controversial academic who was jailed for years after a massive fraud and was exclusively exposed by The Eye, fails to say in vital literature used by potential employers that he worked at a leading Welsh university, it has emerged.
Our journalists showed that Steve Chan had been imprisoned by a court in Boston for four years and three months, as well as being ordered to pay millions of dollars in compensation, yet in his biography for example, which is viewed to secure future employment it omits to mention that he worked on a contract at contentious Swansea University (SU).
It begins: “Dr. Chan is an International Academy, Research and Industry Association (IARIA) Fellow. He first served as an invited Panelist and Presenter at the Fourth International Conference on Data Analytics from 19-24 July 2015 in Nice, France.”
And ends: “His presentations and lectures have been featured at the White House, National Research Council of the National Academies, Aspen Security Forum, Todd Lecture Series, Trieste Next – European Science Forum, World Economic Forum, World Congress on Information Technology, and a number of United Nations venues.”
Further publicity for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) based in America, declares: “Dr. Chan focuses on the nexus between the Industrial Internet and the Internet of Things (IOT). He currently serves on the Review Committee for the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence’s International Conference on Cyber Conflict (CyCon), Program Committee for the Naval Postgraduate School’s Cyber Endeavour (CE), and Cyber Steering Committee for the International Academy, Research, and Industry Association (IARIA) International Conference on Cyber-Technologies and Cyber-Systems.”
But nowhere in them is it stated that Dr Chan spent part of his time at SU.
Chan’s 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.
Despite this on March 1 2016 Chan appeared as a panellist representing SU at a St. David’s Day event in Brussels called ‘Digital Destination: Creating Value and Improving Lives’.
In the promotional material before the conference, SU’s Iwan Davies said: “The event in Brussels on St David’s Day emphasises both the importance of the agenda in the European context and the role played by Professor Steve Chan in this key sector”.
The promotion adds: “Swansea University is delighted that Professor Steve Chan will take a leadership role in driving the Big Data agenda forward for Swansea University’s School of Management.
“Professor Steve Chan is the Chair of the Cyber Analytics and Network/Relationship Science Centre at Swansea University and the Chair of Smarter Cities for a Safer Planet and the Internet of Things at Swansea University’s School of Management”.
University officials were less keen, though, to give The Eye information about Chan’s background and we have been told our questions about him in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request had been refused on the grounds they were “vexatious”.
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?
But using documents we have seen we can now disclose that 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 SU’s own regulations, Chan should not have been allowed to take his viva until at least October 2013.
Professor Davies is now Vice-Chancellor (VC) of Bangor University (BU), and a previous incumbent called John Hughes has also hit the headlines, but he went on to become a senior Pro Vice-Chancellor (PVC) of SU, and a leading figure on its management team.
His former university (SU) has made unfortunate headlines, apart from employing crooked Chan.
The one time VC Richard Davies has said accusations against him in an enormous and highly questionable multi-million pound land deal were “groundless”, yet it is still at the centre of a major police probe into alleged bribery.
Along with his ex-employee, Marc Clement of the university’s School of Management, he was sacked for “gross misconduct” in a scandal first disclosed by The Eye.
It has now emerged that properties in Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Kent were searched as part of the huge continuing investigation.
South Wales Police has said the regional crime unit executed “a number of warrants as part of an investigation into alleged bribery offences.
“Seven (then eight) addresses in Swansea, Carmarthenshire, and Kent are being searched with the assistance of colleagues”
The searches involved officers from South Wales, Dyfed Powys and Kent Police forces.
They followed a complaint from SU to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in late 2018 which was referred to the police.
The investigation was carried out as an astonishing and highly defamatory internal computer campaign by someone calling him or herself ‘Your friend’, was launched to undermine it, which has been only partly covered by the mainstream media.
Part of one of the libellous message from ‘Your friend’ said: “As your Institution’s suspensions farce continues through its eight(h) month, you may wish to reflect on the person responsible for it and the standard of professional conduct (he) deem(s) appropriate”.
It included an official UK Government document naming Andrew Rhodes, the Registrar and Chief Operating Officer at SU, adding tendentiously: “Properly declaring interest to your employer and following the rules are important things; pity not everybody manages to do this”.
A senior police source told The Eye exclusively: “We will be looking closely at this to see whether any laws have been broken”.
After the included UK Government document, the message continued: “If you hold him (Mr Rhodes) to the same standard, now is the time for the ready-made Deputy Vice-Chancellor/Registrar, Professor Steve Wilkes, to support your new Vice Chancellor (VC) to deliver once again an era of unimaginable gold and honey, interrupted following the appointment of your current Registrar. Only this can stop the exodus involving (former Pro Vice-Chancellor [PVC]) Professor Hillary (sic) Lappin-Scott and your Director of Finance (who were leaving or had left) – or, has the latter been deported?”
The phrase ‘gold and honey’ has been used before during the anonymous campaign at Swansea University – in reference to support for the controversial Professor Lappin-Scott, mentioned by ‘Your friend’, who we first revealed had announced that she was leaving the troubled institution, and in a note to staff admitted that it had been a “challenging” time. This, along with the departure of the Finance Director, is the ‘exodus’ described in the anonymous campaign.
The operation at SU was in parallel to the inquiry into the multi-million pound Llanelli ‘Wellness Village’ land deal (now re-named as ‘Pentre Awel’/Breezy or Windy Village), and previous messages have alleged that Professor Richard Davies had been ‘crucified’ during the investigation.
Another recent internal computer gmail to workers at Swansea, senior politicians and journalists during it asked sarcastically: “Will there be a new rebuttal by Swansea University’s expanding PR team, now made up of xxxx, Sion Barry (the Western Mail Business Editor and our own Editor) Phil Parry, or have they referred this matter to MI5 and (convicted fraudster) Steve Chan?”.
One of the latest messages in the remarkable campaign, also came from the invented gmail address Vanitas Vanitatum, and ‘told’ staff: “After six months, hundreds of thousands of pounds and the thrashing (trashing?) of your Institution’s reputation, your Magic Circle firm has pulled a dead rabbit out of the hat”. It claimed the investigation had involved huge costs and included “malice and incompetence”.
A further gmail was sent, like the others, to the university’s Chair of council Sir Roger Jones and staff as well as the senior politicians and journalists, coming from a different created address which has also been used in the past, called ‘Lilith Sumerian’.
Others have also been employed including ‘The iniquities Of the selfish’ and ‘Ivs Titia’.
As with events at other universities in Wales, all of these gmails as well as the anonymous campaign itself, have been largely ignored by the mainstream media even though some of the messages have been sent directly to reporters.
An earlier gmail from the ‘Vanitas Vanitatum’ address about a recent award ceremony was also libellous, as well as being misspelt, and stated: “… your Registrar (Andrew Rhodes) was shamelessly picking up Prof Richard Davies’s (the dismissed one time VC) award – clearly he made (former PVC) Hillary (sic) (Lappin-Scott) stay at home” and declared: “I am sure you will all join me in congratulating him (sacked ex-Dean of School of Management, Marc Clement).
In one of the messages, ‘Your friend’ has claimed: “Why is this witch hunt … still continuing?” and that there has been “A trial by media, a kangaroo court, a selection of evidence and suspensions before interviews”.
The Eye have also been alone in reporting the first official response to the campaign from SU’s ‘Associate Director Vice-Chancellor’s Office, Head of Legal and Compliance Services’ which stated: “The matters under investigation are very serious. The University has invested a significant amount of resource investigating the alleged misconduct, as have the authorities. It is essential that nothing is done to undermine the on-going processes. They must be allowed to run their course without interference.”
It appears as well to be serious if a convicted fraudster does not mention in his biography that he worked at SU, yet possible employers may rely on it for future work…
Tomorrow – The Eye’s own take on the scandal engulfing senior Welsh politicians after lockdown rules were allegedly breached.
Our Editor Phil Parry’s memories of his extraordinary decades long award-winning career in journalism (including exposing crooks) as he was gripped by the incurable disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major new book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order the book now! The picture doubles as a cut-and-paste poster!