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A controversial academic who was jailed for years after a massive fraud, but hired to work at a headline-grabbing Welsh university where a senior executive was sacked for “gross misconduct” while a police probe was launched into alleged bribery, is now director of a leading cyber-security firm which organises international conferences, it has emerged.
Jail-bird Steve Chan was imprisoned by a court in Boston (USA) for four years and three months, and ordered to pay millions of dollars in compensation, followed by three years of supervised release, after he admitted one count of conspiracy to commit fraud as well as one count of mail fraud. He was also told to pay restitution of $12,596,298.
However he worked on a contract at Swansea University’s (SU) School of Management (SoM).
Our inquiries have established that Chan is now Director of Decision Engineering Analysis Laboratory (DENGINEERING) which is behind conferences in Nice, Porto, and Athens, with its website claiming: “The Decision Engineering Analysis Laboratory engages in research that creates, develops, and enhances decision-making systems”.
The Eye are the only media to have exposed Chan’s dubious connections to Wales.
Internal papers provided to us about a council meeting of the University of Wales/Prifysgol Cymru (UoW/PC) from September 24 2012, showed that board members were alerted: “to a request from Steven Chan… to transfer $295,500 (£190,640) to three separate programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)”.
But that: “Council are asked to note the potential financial, political and reputational risks surrounding the project”, and the papers also state: “xxx was invited to take part in a telephone call on 7 Sep 2012 with Marc Clements and Steve Chan (both in Boston)”. Along with: “Reports were provided to Steve Chan who was designated by then President Marc Clement as his representative…”.
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”.
Chan was hired by his ‘representative’, ‘Professor’ Marc Clement, yet he (as well as the Vice Chancellor [VC] Richard Davies) left under a cloud from the positions at SU, where ‘Professor’ Clement had held the senior role of Dean of the SoM.
Yet ‘Professor’ Clement has also made news for all the wrong reasons, with an enormous police investigation begun into alleged bribery. Legal experts have confirmed to our journalists that the fact charges were eventually dropped in the huge inquiry did NOT actually mean he was entirely in the clear, with one of the key witnesses being deemed too ill to testify.
The probe which ‘Professor’ Clement was at the centre of, followed creation of the £200 million ‘Llanelli Wellness and Life Science Village’ (Delta Lakes) project, rebranded as ‘Pentre Awel – Breezy/Windy Village’. It formed part of the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay City Region Deal (SBCRD), and was run in partnership with SU as well as Hywel Dda and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg health boards – 86 acres of land at Delta Lakes had planning permission, and the giant venture was to have included research and business development facilities, a state-of-the-art care home as well as an assisted living and rehabilitation centre, outdoor leisure space, a wellness hotel, and a new leisure centre.
He appears to have been the driving force behind the SBCRD, because his LinkedIn profile declares: “He (‘Professor’ Clement) is widely recognised as the architect of the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Region Deal signed by the Prime Minister in 2018″.
But, a statement from SU has declared: “The police have confirmed to Swansea University that there was evidence of potential criminal offending identified and secured against individuals and companies subject to their enquiry…The university’s decision to dismiss Marc Clement was based on serious breaches of Swansea University procedures and was never dependent on a criminal investigation by the police or decision to prosecute by the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service)“.
During the police inquiry, properties in Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Kent were searched. South Wales Police (SWP) said the Regional Organised Crime Unit (Tarian) 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 Powysand Kent Police forces, yet The Eye were alone in disclosing the properties raided by the police.
Another statement from SU made plain that senior officials were also included in the probe.
It stated baldly: “In September 2018, the University investigated a payment that had been made to Raymond Ciborowski (the University’s former Registrar) upon the termination of his employment. This investigation found that the agreement governing the termination of Raymond Ciborowski’s employment as Registrar contained irregular and inappropriate provisions”, and continued: “… gains included salaries from future appointments and equity potentially worth millions of pounds. The evidence suggested that there were material and serious interests that should have been declared under the University’s policies and procedures”.
An earlier announcement from SU’s ‘Associate Director Vice-Chancellor’s Office, Head of Legal and Compliance Services’ proclaimed: “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”.
The astonishing investigation at SU was carried out as an unbelievable and highly defamatory internal computer campaign by someone calling him or herself ‘Your friend’, was launched to undermine it, and which has been only partly covered by the mainstream media.
Part of one of the libellous gmail messages from ‘Your friend’ announced: “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”. The gmail included an official UK Government document naming another senior executive at SU, and added tendentiously: “Properly declaring interest to your employer and following the rules are important things; pity not everybody manages to do this”.
An outraged blogger who has been monitoring these extraordinary events, Jacqui Thompson, said: “New flood maps were published by NRW (Natural Resources Wales) which show that much of Llanelli and its surrounds are now at very high risk of flooding.
“Delta Lake itself, the site for Pentre Awel is at very high risk from river, tidal and surface water flooding, and that’s without taking climate change predictions into account. All that’s separating it from the big blue sea is a broken sluice gate. Oh dear.”
Indeed the huge project has often caused ructions.
The re-naming from ‘Wellness Village’ to ‘Pentre Awel’ has been slammed by a politician as “moronic” and “an attempt to clean up its image”. Sian Caiach, said ironically: “Its good to know that the disaster of the Wellness Project is to be covered up by moronic re-branding”.
But, despite this, evidently ‘Professor’ Clement was proud of his role with the UoW/PC, because it is declared in his LinkedIn profile: “The pinnacle of his academic career was when he became the Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Wales between 2007 and 2012 reporting directly to HRH the Prince of Wales as Chancellor of the University”.
Meanwhile SU officials had refused 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?
However using other documents we have seen we can now disclose that the answer to the first question is October 2012, to the second May 2013, and 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.
Despite these queries about Chan’s qualification, and his being convicted and given a long jail sentence, it is obvious that he has got on.
Do the people who use Decision Engineering Analysis Laboratory (DENGINEERING) know?!
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 it now! The picture doubles as a cut-and-paste poster!
Regrettably publication of another book, was refused, because it was to have included names.