Trial date set for ex-federal researcher in Sask. accused of fraud, breach of trust

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Yantai Gan will face a jury trial next May. He is charged with fraud and breach of trust. (Royal Society of Canada/YouTube - image credit)
Yantai Gan will face a jury trial next May. He is charged with fraud and breach of trust. (Royal Society of Canada/YouTube - image credit)

A trial date has been set for a former federal research scientist who worked in Swift Current, Sask., and is accused of fraud and breach of trust.

Yantai Gan, 66, will face a jury trial on May 1, 2023.

Gan was arrested and released in Nov. 2019 in Swift Current following a 21-month investigation led by the RCMP's national security enforcement section.

At the time of his arrest, Gan was a research scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Swift Current Research and Development Centre.

The national security team that headed the investigation typically deals with espionage, sabotage, threatening acts, or releasing classified information, according to an RCMP webpage.

Gan was taken into custody in Dec. 2021.

He has been charged with committing fraud or breach of trust with the duties of his office as an employee of the federal government.

Court documents say Gan allegedly entered into an unauthorized, contractual relationship while receiving money with the Gansu Agricultural University in China.

It is alleged in the indictment that Gan did not disclose this relationship or that he received remuneration from China to his employer Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

The indictment also says Gan was recruiting for and organizing an international research collaboration for Gansu Agricultural University and made one or more "travel requests or expense claims that were false in whole or in part."

Gan is also alleged to have entered into an unauthorized relationship with Barilla America, a subsidiary of Italy's largest food producer.

It is alleged Gan received $24,000 from Barilla America and failed to disclose that to his employer.

The indictment says Gan made false expense claims to the University of Saskatchewan and also failed to adhere to his employer's ethics code and failed to disclose a conflict of interest.

Gan is also charged with defrauding the public of money exceeding $5,000 and possession of the proceeds of crime over $5,000.

In 2019, Gan was named a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

The society described Gan as an internationally renowned scientist in agro-ecosystems who invented a pulse-based, "integrated suite" of farming technologies.

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