• Kyodo


A Japanese woman and her Chinese husband, who are accused of stealing genetic information from a Harvard Medical School lab, can be released on bail, a San Diego federal district judge ruled Thursday.

Kayoko Kinbara, 32, and Zhu Jiangyu, 30, were released the same evening on bail of $250,000. The couple were arrested June 19 by the FBI.

The two were arrested on charges of conspiracy, theft of trade secrets, interstate transportation of stolen property and trying to profit by collaborating with a Japanese company while they were postdoctoral fellows at the Harvard Medical School’s cell biology department, where they worked until December 1999.

Kinbara and Zhu both have denied the charges.

Judge Magistrate John A. Houston, who presided over the hearing, also set conditions on the bail. The couple are only allowed to travel within three counties in Southern California and they must wear electronic monitors and remain at home between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Kinbara and Zhu, however, are free to leave their home during the day to work, attend appointments and run errands. The court will only allow the pair to leave Southern California to attend their first court appearance on July 17 in Boston, where they will face indictment.

Commenting on the case, Kinbara’s attorney, Eric Acker, said. “The facts will come out and the charges will be shown to lack merit.”

Acker also mentioned that all parties had agreed to the bail bond agreement because Kinbara and Zhu were not considered flight risks.

Dressed in a white prison jumpsuit, Kinbara looked anxious as the judge read the conditions for the bail, but seemed relieved after agreeing to have her trial moved to a Boston court.

Zhu and Kinbara moved to San Diego in late 2000, when Zhu secured a job as a postdoctoral researcher in the biology department at the University of California in San Diego. Kinbara had been employed for the past six months as a researcher at the prestigious Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla.

Prior to living in San Diego, the couple worked at the University of Texas Health Science Center, where they were employed after quitting their Harvard jobs.

Some of the allegations against them stem from charges that they transported materials and information from the Harvard lab to Texas.

If convicted, the couple could face a maximum sentence of 25 years and up to $750,000 in fines.

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