Spy case extends to DuPont and Motorola

Spy case extends to DuPont and Motorola

Spy case extends to DuPont and Motorola

The DuPont corporate logo is seen on a base near Geneva in this file photo. REUTERS photo

U.S. prosecutors expanded a criminal case over the alleged theft of industrial secrets from chemical giant DuPont, securing an indictment against a Chinese company on economic espionage-related charges.

A Northern California grand jury indicted Pangang Group for conspiracy to commit economic espionage and other charges including conspiracy to steal trade secrets, according to court documents unsealed on Feb. 8.

Pangang, a state-owned steel manufacturer in Sichuan province, allegedly worked with a California businessman and others to obtain several valuable trade secrets from DuPont, the indictment says.
Separately, a former engineer for Motorola Inc was found guilty on Feb. 8 of stealing trade secrets from the company but cleared of economic espionage for China.

The latest developments in the two cases come as Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping is scheduled to visit the United States next week on a range of economic, trade, regional and global issues.

Xi, considered China’s president-in-waiting, will meet President Barack Obama at the White House next week. The U.S. visit will be a major step in signalling Xi’s readiness to take over as China’s next top leader and run Beijing’s complex and sometimes vexed relationship with Washington.

Hanjuan Jin had been charged with illegally possessing thousands of Motorola’s trade secrets on her computer and in other forms of digital storage, and prosecutors said she intended to pass the information to the Chinese military.

Jin was found guilty by a Chicago federal judge on three counts of theft of trade secrets after a bench trial, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on each count.

California businessman Walter Liew has already been in custody for several months on witness tampering charges related to the DuPont allegations. Liew and his wife, Christina, also face charges of conspiracy to commit economic espionage and other counts in the latest indictment.