The probity of the Nobel Prize is under investigation, in high profile accusations of bribery and undue influence, according to news released by The Times.
Two senior figures in the process that chose Harald zur Hausen for this year's Nobel Prize for Medicine have strong links with the London-based multi-national pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which has also recently begun sponsoring the Nobel website. The company strongly denies any wrongdoing.
It is not the only question mark hanging over the probity of the Stockholm-based foundation. The Swedish prosecutor yesterday opened a parallel investigation into bribery allegations after several members of Nobel committees admitted enjoying expenses-paid trips to China to tell officials how candidates are selected for prizes.
Other members of the Nobel Foundation are said to be gravely concerned that the reputation of an organisation that honours the highest achievements in human endeavour is under threat from companies and nations hungry for Nobel glory.
So far, the literature prize has not been implicated, thankfully, but ramifications could lurk in the wings.