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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian in Australian Scandal

SYDNEY, Australia -- A Russian emigre who apparently used fake medical qualifications to get a job as a psychiatrist at a public hospital had previously been convicted of child molestation in Russia, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

Vincent Berg, who worked for a year at Townsville Hospital in Queensland state starting in 2000, had been convicted in 1987 by a Kaluga court for indecent dealing with children and sentenced to three years' jail with hard labor, The Australian newspaper reported Tuesday.

Officials at Queensland state's beleaguered health department knew that Berg had possibly faked his qualifications as early as 2002 but failed to inform his former patients that they had been treated by an impostor, according to formerly confidential documents released by a government inquiry last week.

In his resum?, Berg said he had received his psychiatric credentials from Voronezh State University and later came to Australia as a refugee in 1992 after being persecuted for his Russian Orthodox religious views.

Berg's applied for national recognition of his Russian credentials, but when Australian authorities approached Voronezh State University, they were advised that Berg's credentials were fake, officials said. Berg's current whereabouts are unknown.

The Australian reported that Berg denied in an e-mail any wrongdoing in the child abuse case. He was released after serving nine months in prison, it said.