School for scandal

Chan – a ‘sense maker’

A so-called academic exposed by The Eye who was jailed for four years after a huge fraud but was employed by a leading Welsh university in their scandal-hit management school, is used by an American scholarly organisation which has a special section for ‘ethics’ on its website, The Eye can reveal.

Stephen Chan was imprisoned by a court in Boston for four years and three months, and ordered to pay millions of dollars in compensation, yet is a speaker with the International Academy Research and Industry Association (IARIA), and his biography is provided:  “Dr. Chan serves as the Director of the Sensemaking-U.S. Pacific Command Fellowship and Co-Director of the Pacific-Asia Institute for Resilience and Sustainability (legislated by the State of Hawaii)”.


Fatter but the same man – Chan has an interesting past

Chan had been employed on a contract at the contentious School of Management at Swansea University, and serious questions have been raised about the judgement of the head of the School, Marc Clement.

His jail term was followed by three years of supervised release, after he admitted one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and one count of mail fraud.

He was also ordered to pay restitution of $12,596,298.

In 1997 and 1998 Chan and others made false representation to lenders about two companies he was involved in, and more than $20 million was then promised to fund the lease or purchase of computers, furniture as well as related equipment.

Chan was imprisoned by Boston law courts for more than four years and ordered to pay millions of dollars in compensation

Chan, a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), oversaw all the leasing activities of the two companies and was largely responsible for drafting and distributing the false leasing packages and providing lenders with misleading materials, to make them believe the two companies were highly successful businesses.

The fraud only ended when the FBI searched one of the companies offices in August 1998, using a warrant.

The story first broken by The Eye was then followed up by The BBC.

Chan now lives with his mother in Poughkeepsie, New York.

We also showed how he became an advisor to a company where the President has a criminal conviction.


Marc Clement – questions

Mounting concerns about Chan’s time at Swansea have refused to disappear, and in the early days The Eye was almost alone in reporting them.

When he was still in his post at the University, he proved a controversial figure.

Early last year an official written question was put to the Welsh Government about Swansea University’s School of Management, naming the Vice-Chancellor Richard Davies, the school’s Dean, Marc Clement and Chan.

Richard Davies – named

The then Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black, asked the Welsh Education Minister at the time, Huw Lewis, to make a statement regarding the appointment of senior staff at the University’s school and the qualifications of Chan.

Professor Richard Davies the Vice-Chancellor and Marc Clement the present Dean of their management school, were also named.

It followed a disturbing sequence of events.

Nigel Piercy – also controversial

The contentious school had been run before Professor Clement, by Nigel Piercy, where his son Niall was also employed, but he left after hitting the headlines over serious allegations.

Internal sources have also given The Eye information questioning the qualifications of Chan.

They prompted Mr Black, an AM at the time with the university in his constituency, to ask:  “Will the Minister (Huw Lewis) make a statement regarding the appointment of senior staff at Swansea University’s School of Management, following reports that a meeting was held between the Dean of the School, Marc Clements (sic), and University Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Davies about the qualifications of Professor Steve Chan?”.

Our inquiries were ‘vexatious’

But information has been difficult to uncover.

We lodged a series of questions through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request with Swansea University about Chan, but the information was refused on the grounds the request was “vexatious”.

Four of the questions we asked in the FoI 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? 
Peter Black wanted answers

One academic told The Eye:  (Vice-Chancellor) Davies and (Dean) Clement can’t survive this.

“Questions must be asked about their roles.”

Chan has clearly survived, even if there will be questions about his role with an academic organisation which has a special section for ‘ethics’.

On Friday contentious Pro Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, Hilary Lappin-Scott, who has enraged staff with her tweets from around the world, tells a hapless colleague about her latest trip. 



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The Eye is edited by Phil Parry. Phil is a former BBC news and current affairs reporter. He is winner of the BT Wales award for journalist of the year, BT Wales TV reporter of the year and radio reporter of the year. His programmes have won in the current affairs category of the Royal Television Society and BAFTA Cymru. Phil has presented Panorama programmes, Newsnight films and BBC 2’s Public Eye. For 10 years he was the face of BBC Wales TV current affairs programme Week in, Week Out. He was a reporter on the evening TV news programme ‘Wales Today‘ and has presented numerous daily radio programmes. Phil has also worked on local and UK newspapers. If you have a story you wish us to investigate then get in touch. We treat your disclosures in total confidence and with the journalistic integrity you would expect from our professional team.

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