In their efforts to question Schatten over his role in the fabrications and why he bid farewell to Hwang, prosecutors sent 136 questions to him in February. Schatten said he would only cooperate in the probe by e-mail.
Schatten claimed he had not known about the fabrication until suspicions were raised at the end of last year, according to the prosecution. He also said he helped write the papers using materials and data Hwang’s team sent.
Regarding the allegation he proposed Hwang push ahead with publishing the paper in Science, even after learning stem cell lines No. 4-7 were destroyed from contamination at Hwang’s lab, Schatten claims he proposed publication believing there were replica cell lines.
During an investigation in February, one of Hwang’s co-researchers, professor Kang Sung-keun at SNU, testified he heard Schatten tell Hwang to publish the papers despite the contamination.
Prosecutors said they would not accept Schatten’s claim as is, but are examining the answers to find any evidence to verify the research fabrication process.