Reviews PERSONAL VIEW

Why did my colleagues turn to crime?

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7447.1083 (Published 29 April 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1083
  1. Jorma Palo, emeritus professor of neurology ([email protected])
  1. University of Helsinki, Finland

    The news reached me in 2000 while I was on a German autobahn, driving to France for my summer holiday. My son called to say that Professor Urpo Rinne had been arrested and was under police investigation for transferring 10 million Finnish marks (£1m; $2m; €1.7m) of research money into his own bank account.

    Not again, I thought. Just a year before, Professor Paavo Riekkinen was arrested because he had placed large sums of research money, given for the development of new drugs against epilepsy and dementia, in high interest savings accounts and had kept the income, about two million Finnish marks. He was sent to prison for two years. Soon afterwards his younger son, Paavo Riekkinen Junior, was found guilty of 23 different crimes also involving research money. His sentence was two years, three months. Both have already been released.

    Under no circumstances should money be given directly to researchers

    What had happened to my fellow neurologists? Rinne …

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