Clonaid Nothing But Double Talk?

CBS Evening News/June 2, 2003

Montreal -- Remember Clonaid, the self-proclaimed "human cloning company" spawned by a UFO cult?

These days, it's cashing in on its outrageous claims, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Acosta.

Just go to Clonaid's Web site, where a human clone goes for $200,000, human eggs are $5,000 each and cell fusion devices are priced at $9,000.

Clonaid is recruiting American investors. Marketing director Thomas Kaenzig appeared at a recent venture capital conference, where he asked people to invest in Clonaid.

But there's one big problem. Clonaid is not a company. Attorney Bernard Siegel learned that from Kaenzig in a sworn deposition.

"I think Clonaid is a sham," Siegel said. "I think it's a scheme to get money. I think the public should be warned."

Clonaid doesn't even have a street address. When we wanted to talk to Clonaid about its status, we were asked to come to Montreal and meet Clonaid's CEO at a hotel.

"Clonaid is not a company. It's a brand name," said Clonaid CEO Brigitte Boisselier.

Boisselier admitted to CBS News that she is the subject of a federal investigation.

"You know I have received letters from the SEC. They are asking questions," she said.

Boisselier said she wasn't concerned about being prosecuted "because I think I have five, six lawyers working full-time on different continents to preserve everything."

Boisselier said Clonaid had received more than $1 million in investment money, but she declined to be more specific.

She said her bases are covered because she's not seeking investments from Americans.

Tell that to Mark and Tracy Hunt.

They invested $500,000 in Clonaid to build this lab in West Virginia that was shut down by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Hunts wanted Boisselier to clone their dead son.

Of the Hunts, Boisselier said: "They bought the equipment. They kept the equipment. That's all I want to say. OK?"

Attorney Bernard Siegel said Clonaid preys on the desperate with a Web site that offers hope.

It's a Web site that describes Clonaid as "the first human cloning company."

"Well I said It's a Web site," Boisselier said.

She also dodged requests for proof that Clonaid ever produced a clone.

But she denied being a con artist.

"That's so funny because you don't know me. But how can you go in front of the world and say something like that if it's not true?" she said.

Boisselier also said she wasn't trying to make money: "You should look at my car. Look, I've been spending all of my money to do those babies."

Boisselier said she's setting up a new lab on a Brazilian island to produce the next generation of baby clones - away from U.S. investigators who suspect Clonaid has gotten a cloning scam down to a science.

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