Scandal Erupts at French University over Alleged Chinese Bribes

The Washington Post reports on the suspension of the president of the University of Toulon, Laroussi Oueslati, and two top aides for allegedly accepting bribes from Chinese students in exchange for admission to the university:

According to an Education Ministry investigation, several University of Toulon officials were approached by Chinese middlemen who proposed paying bribes for a number of admissions and guaranteed graduations for Chinese students. Those approached told investigators they turned down the offers.

The Sunday Newspaper, which obtained a copy of the ministry report, quoted it as saying one professor in charge of a master’s degree program reported being contacted in the summer of 2008 by a Chinese alumnus who proposed almost $3,000 for each Chinese student admitted and another $7,500 for each one who obtained a diploma. The professor, identified as Nathalie Hector, said she turned him down but kept receiving e-mails from him suggesting Oueslati agreed with the arrangement.

She said she went to Oueslati and was told to break off contact. But Oueslati never reported the bribery attempt, she complained, and his aides pushed her to accept students who could not speak enough French to follow courses and whose admissions were handled through administrative offices rather than the normal admissions committee.

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