Neuroscientist’s fraud case to be reopened

Milena Penkowa breathed her sigh of relief a bit too early when charges against her were dropped in May, as the University of Copenhagen has now demanded that the case be reopened

Just two months ago, charges against embattled neuroscientist Milena Penkowa were dropped but the case is now being reopened per the request of the University of Copenhagen (KU).

Penkowa is accused of embezzlement and document fraud concerning experiments carried out on 700 rats in Spain in 2003 and 2004. In 2011, KU reported Penkowa to the police and after a year of investigating her 79 published articles, 15 incidents of malpractice, including missing data and manipulation of photographs, were found.

As the statute of limitations is five years for document fraud, the police decided to drop all charges against Penkowa in May. But KU has now demanded that the case be reopened, as the statute of limitations for 'flagrant document fraud' is ten years. The public prosecutor has sided with KU and has asked the police to reopen the case against Penkowa.

This is far from the first legal decision to not go Penkowa's way. In June, a court ruled that she should pay 65,000 kroner in legal costs to Poul Pilgaard Johnson, a journalist from the newspaper Weekendavisen whom Penkowa had accused of libel.  In 2010, Penkowa received a suspended sentence of three months for embezzlement, document fraud and making false accusations against the national neuroscience society, Dansk Selskab for Neuromedicin. 




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