Ex-Eli Lilly and Company (LLY) Scientists Fighting Fraud Charges Now Battle Over Leak Of Internal Documents
8/1/2014 5:51:00 AM
Ex-Eli Lilly Scientists Fighting Fraud Charges Now Battle Over Leak Of Internal Documents
August 1, 2014
By Krystle Vermes, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
Former Eli Lilly (LLY) scientists Guoqing Cao and Shuyu Li, who have been charged with fraud for leaking information about experimental drugs to a competitor, are now fighting for hundreds of thousands of internal documents.
Cao and Li were accused of fraud in the fall of 2013. The two were initially brought to court for stealing confidential data, but the charges against them were changed to alleged wire fraud and conspiracy to attempt wire fraud. The value of the confidential information was thought to have been worth about $55 million at the time, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Li and Cao wanted Eli Lilly to create documents about its competitive intelligence team, communications between the government and the company and information technology records. Eli Lilly denied the two scientists, claiming that the documents contained too much sensitive information. One of the attorneys involved in the case, Scott Newman, is now trying to determine if the government is permitting Eli Lilly to directly prosecute the scientists for its own purposes.
“We are exploring the issue of whether Lilly controlled the process of criminal charges against our clients,” Newman told the Wall Street Journal. “There are indications the process was largely controlled by Lilly lawyers and not the government, and that responsibility belongs to the government… Parts of the original indictment were dismissed. Things were cut. Things were added. We want to know who is controlling this.”
Cao and Li have issued a 26-page subpoena to their former company, but Eli Lilly is attempting to plead its case against the request – the drug maker wants a federal judge to disallow the subpoena altogether, according to the Indianapolis Star. Eli Lilly claims that the subpoena is “unreasonable and oppressive,” as well as too broad.
“There is some irony at the sight of a public corporation with 37,925 employees...arguing that it is oppressed by the circumscribed requirements in this subpoena,” Newman told the Star.
However, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is supporting Eli Lilly’s claim that the subpoena is too broad, stacking the case against the scientists.
When Cao and Li were brought in for charges of fraud last fall, they were jailed by a federal grand jury. Eventually they were transferred to a halfway house, and they are both now in home detention. The two scientists claim that they have not done anything wrong.
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