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Disgraced Korean cloning scientist given suspended sentence

Not a mammoth punishment under the cirumstances

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Disgraced Korean cloning scientist Hwang Woo-Suk has been found guilty of fraud after a tortuous three-year trial.

The man who became a national hero after he claimed to have cloned "tailored" human embryos was given a two-year prison term, suspended for three years, for embezzling research funds and breaching bioethics laws by purchasing human eggs.

Hwang was found not guilty of charges that he faked research results to obtain funds. The prosecution said it intends to appeal on those verdicts.

The sentence comes after his reputation has been comprehensively trashed.

Hwang's research at Seoul National University came under question after it emerged he had used research team members' eggs for his work, and had paid other women to supply eggs.

His trial featured ever more bizarre revelations, including his admission that he bought mammoth meat from the Russian mafia in a bid to clone the long-extinct creatures. He said he had put down to the payments to the Russians as "cows for experiment". He also confirmed that he had tried to clone tigers.

Hwang also admitted using the names of junior team members to set up bank accounts, paid for juniors' housing, and also paid for a scientist's wedding. ®

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