A controversial academic at a leading university has gone, amid revelations about his past by The Eye.
Serious questions are now being asked about the future of the Vice-Chancellor and the man who brought him into Swansea university’s management school.
The shock news comes hard on the heels of disclosures by us of a man with the same name who was sentenced to more than four years in jail in America for fraud.
A Stephen Chan was imprisoned in Boston for a huge fraud and ordered to pay millions of dollars in compensation.
He was sentenced to four years and three months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release after admitting 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.
This Stephen 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.
But mounting concerns about Professor Chan at Swansea have also refused to disappear, and The Eye have been alone in reporting them.
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 Professor Chan.
Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black, asked the Welsh Education Minister, Huw Lewis, to make a statement regarding the appointment of senior staff at the university’s school and the qualifications of Professor Steve Chan.
Professor Richard Davies the Vice-Chancellor and Marc Clement the Dean of their management school, were also named.
It followed a disturbing sequence of events, where internal sources at the school have given The Eye information questioning the qualifications of Professor Chan.
Mr Black, an AM with the university in his constituency, asked: “Will the Minister 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?”
The minister responded: “The Welsh Government has no powers in relation to the internal management of universities or the appointment of staff.
“This is a matter for Swansea University.”
But Professor Chan quickly became a key matter for Swansea university.
In a statement today they said: “Steve Chan was appointed as a consultant to the School of Management in line with relevant procedures.
“This engagement has now come to an end.
“We have no further comment.”
Information has been difficult to uncover.
We lodged a series of questions through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request with Swansea university about Professor 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?
One academic told The Eye: “(Vice Chancellor) Davies and (Dean) Clement can’t survive this.
“Questions must be asked about their roles.”
Now it seems at least one of the questions about Professor Chan has been answered.
His leaving date.