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Ex-BioSA boss cleared of abusing office

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The former chief executive of BioSA has been cleared of abuse of public office, after it was alleged he failed to disclose a conflict of interest.

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Jurgen Michaelis was found not guilty of one count of abuse of public office after a District Court trial by judge alone.

During the trial, the prosecution had alleged Michaelis sought $5 million government funding for a company in which he had a vested interest.

The court heard he had in 2011 invested in Queensland-based nanotechnology company Nano-Nouvelle.

In June of 2012, Michaelis was alleged to have drafted a minute and met the then-Innovation Minister Tom Kenyon to request $12 million in funding.

Judge Liesl Chapman was told that funding included $5 million for the relocation of Nano-Nouvelle to South Australia to occupy part of a new building.

The prosecution had argued that Michaelis’ financial interest was not disclosed to the minister.

Michaelis sat in court with several supporters as Judge Chapman handed down her verdict this morning.

A media release issued later by Michaelis’s lawyers, Iles Selley, said it had been “established that he had repeatedly declared a conflict of interest and, unless asked to remain to answer questions, habitually absented himself from Bio SA Board deliberations whenever Nano-Nouvelle business arose”.

BioTech, created in 2001, is now known as TechinSA and aims to build a world-class bioscience industry in the state.

-AAP

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