Former Cancer Institute official is charged in research case TBB

December 12, 1991

A former high-level official at the National Cancer Institute was charged yesterday by federal authorities with illegally accepting $25,000 to do testing and research for an outside firm and lying about his connections to that firm.

Dr. Prem S. Sarin, 57, was deputy director of the institute's laboratory for tumor cell biology. The government alleges that on Jan. 25, 1987, the Homborg Degussa Pharma research firm paid Dr. Sarin $25,000 "for conducting and causing to be conducted virological testing research." Extensive research into the causes of the AIDS virus are being conducted at the laboratory.

The government also charges that on March 12, 1987, Dr. Sarin stated in a required disclosure form that he had agreed to "consult and lecture" at the research firm and that he would be paid no more than $4,500 a year.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dale P. Kelberman, who will be prosecuting the case, described the federal charges as "more of a conflict-of-interest type crime." The case is not defined as bribery, he said. Mr. Kelberman did not say whether the laboratory would have performed the tests in question if Dr. Sarin had not been paid. If convicted of both crimes, Dr. Sarin, who was suspended without pay from the institute in January, faces maximum penalties of six years in prison and $350,000 in fines. date has been set for Dr. Sarin's initial court appearance or arraignment.

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