Seismologist from Japan detained for fraudulent sale to Norway university

A leading Japanese seismologist was arrested for fraudulently selling scientific equipment to a Norwegian university, a report said Wednesday. Hideki Shimamura, 64, a professor at Hokkaido University and an expert on undersea earthquakes, was accused of swindling the University of Bergen out of 20.2 million yen (US$172,000; 142,000 euros), Kyodo News reported.

Shimamura allegedly told the Norwegian university that Hokkaido University would sell it five seismographs and related equipment in September 1998 and May 1999, and to transfer the money to his own bank account, Kyodo said.

It said the professor, who headed the university's Institute of Seismology and Volcanology at the time, transported the devices to Bergen even though they belonged to the Japanese university and he had no authority to sell them.

Shimamura denied the allegations, Kyodo reported, citing unidentified prosecutors.

Hokkaido University filed a criminal fraud complaint against Shimamura with prosecutors in April, the report said.

Officials at the Sapporo District Public Prosecutor's Office in Hokkaido, the northernmost main island in Japan, and Hokkaido University were not available for comment late Wednesday, reports the AP.


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