UCLA: Transplants, donations not connected

May 31, 2008 at 12:29 PM
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LOS ANGELES, May 31 (UPI) -- The UCLA Medical Center was defending itself Saturday against charges it accepted big cash donations from alleged gangsters who received liver transplants.

The Los Angeles Times reported that powerful Japanese gang boss Tadamasa Goto, 65, described by authorities as the leader of the violent Goto-gumi Gang, donated $100,000 to the medical center less than three months after undergoing transplant surgery there in July 2001.

Goto joins another Japanese man, now barred from entering country because of alleged criminal ties, in receiving scarce liver transplants at UCLA and following it up with a $100,000 research fund donation, the newspaper reported.

UCLA officials told the Times the institution had "no reason to question" where the patients' donation money came from, saying the cash went into the medical center's surgery department discretionary fund. The school also flatly denied there was any connection between the donations and the Japanese men's surgeries at a time when 186 patients died in the Los Angeles area while waiting for liver transplants.

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