jury convicts Chinese intelligence agent for crimes of espionage and attempted theft of trade secrets | Takeover bid


A federal jury today convicted Yanjun Xu, a Chinese national and deputy division director of the Sixth Bureau of the State Security Ministry of Jiangsu Province, for conspiring and attempting to commit economic espionage and theft. trade secrets. The accused is the first Chinese intelligence officer to be extradited to the United States for trial.

“This conviction of a carded intelligence agent for economic espionage underlines that the theft of trade secrets is an integral part of the PRC government’s plans to modernize its industries,” said Deputy Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the National Security Division of the Ministry of Justice. “But this belief also means that the United States will not stand idly by while China, or any other nation-state, tries to fly instead of researching and developing key technologies. Instead, and with the support of our allies, we will continue to investigate, prosecute and hold accountable those who attempt to illegally take the fruits of American ingenuity. “

“The jury, by its guilty verdict here today, held Xu responsible for his classic espionage techniques,” Acting US Attorney Vipal J. Patel said for the Southern District of Ohio. “Xu conspired to commit economic espionage on behalf of the Chinese government, and he attempted to steal valuable innovation and trade secrets from leading US aviation technology companies. This office will continue to seek to protect American innovation and hold accountable those who attempt to steal our nation’s science and technology, regardless of status or affiliation, whether civilian, military, or spy. .

“This was state-sponsored economic espionage by the PRC and designed to steal American technology and put Americans out of work,” said Deputy Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. of the Counterintelligence Division. from the FBI. “For those who doubt the real aims of the PRC, this should be a wake-up call; they are stealing American technology for the benefit of their economy and their military. The FBI partners with more than 50 US government agencies to share information and investigative resources to end illegal activities in the PRC.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, as of at least December 2013, Xu has used multiple pseudonyms to target specific companies in the United States and abroad that are recognized as leaders in the field of aviation. He identified experts who worked for the companies and recruited them to travel to China, often initially under the pretext that they were traveling to give a presentation at a university. Xu and others paid allowances to the experts in addition to covering travel costs. According to today’s belief, Xu attempted to steal technology related to GE Aviation’s proprietary composite aircraft engine fan – which no other company in the world has been able to replicate – for the benefit of the Chinese state.

In March 2017, a GE Aviation employee in Cincinnati, Ohio, was asked to report at a university in China. The employee went to China two months later to report to college and was introduced to Xu. Xu and others paid the employee’s travel expenses and an allowance.

In January 2018, Xu asked the employee for information about the “system specifications, design process” and – with the cooperation of the company, which was working with the FBI – the employee emailed a document. of two company pages that included a label that warned about the disclosure of confidential information.

In February 2018, Xu started discussing with the employee the possibility of meeting in Europe on one of his business trips and asked the employee to send a copy of his file directory. computer provided by the company.

Xu traveled to Belgium on April 1, 2018 to meet with the employee and was arrested at that time.

Xu was convicted of two counts of conspiracy and attempted economic espionage, carrying a maximum legal sentence of 15 years in prison on each count and a fine of up to 5 years. millions of dollars. Xu was also convicted of conspiracy to steal trade secrets and two counts of attempted theft of trade secrets, punishable by up to 10 years in prison on each count and one count. fine of $ 250,000. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

The FBI investigated the case.

Assistant Criminal Deputy Chief Timothy S. Mangan and Deputy Criminal Chief Emily Glatfelter for the Southern District of Ohio and Prosecutor Matthew J. McKenzie of the Security Division Counterintelligence and Export Control Section national continue the case.

The Bureau of International Affairs of the Criminal Division secured Xu’s extradition to the United States, with invaluable assistance provided by the Belgian government and the Belgian Federal Police.

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