U.S. accuses pair of spying on GE to aid China

A former GE employee was charged with theft of intellectual property to benefit China

A former GE employee was charged with theft of intellectual property to benefit China More

The indictment against the former GE engineer, Xiaoqing Zheng, and Chinese businessman Zhaoxi Zhang, comes after Zheng was initially charged in August in connection with the alleged theft.

The US Justice Department on Tuesday charged a Chinese engineer and his partner with "economic espionage" for allegedly stealing technology from General Electric.

They are accused of doing so knowing that those secrets would be used to benefit China, prosecutors said.

The latest unsealed indictment against Zheng and Chinese businessman Zhang Zhaoxi, 47, includes further details of the USA government's case against the pair-notably, that the alleged theft was conducted to benefit China, and that the Chinese regime provided "financial and other support" to the Chinese companies that received the stolen information.

Zheng and Zhang were formally indicted on April 18. Zhaoxi Zheng, however, has not been arrested. According to the 14-count indictment, Zheng worked at GE Power & Water in Schenectady, as an engineer specializing in sealing technology.

Zheng was hired by GE in 2008. He admitted the acts to investigators after the raid and said he used the picture method to take materials belonging to GE on five to 10 prior occasions, authorities said.

According to the indictment, Zheng told GE in February 2016 that he was operating an aviation parts supply company in China with his brothers, and asked permission to ensure it did not violate any rules about conflicts of interest. Zheng transferred numerous stolen GE files to Zhang in China to advance their own business interests in two Chinese companies.

In addition, the indictment charges that the pair, through these companies, coordinated with Chinese officials to enter into research agreements with Chinese state-owned institutions to develop turbine technologies.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers called the case a "textbook example" of China's efforts to pilfer intellectual property from US companies.

Demers added the USA "will not stand idly by while the world's second-largest economy engages in state-sponsored theft".

Zheng was arraigned Tuesday in Albany.

Kevin Luibrand, his attorney, stated he wasn't commenting on the charges.

Mr. Zheng also faces one count of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation during an interview.

The charges include six counts of economic espionage and six counts of trade secrets theft.

A case against Jean Patrice Delia, 43, of Montreal, and Miguel Sernas, 40, of Mexico City, was unsealed last month.

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