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US Charges Former GE Engineer, Chinese Businessman With Economic Espionage

© Flickr / Drew DouglasUS Department of Justice
US Department of Justice - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States has charged former General Electric (GE) engineer Xiaoqing Zheng and Chinese businessman Zhaoxi Zhang with 14 counts of economic espionage and conspiring to steal trade secrets, the US Department of Justice said in a press release on Tuesday.

"An indictment unsealed today charges Xiaoqing Zheng, 56, of Niskayuna, New York, and Zhaoxi Zhang, 47, of Liaoning Province, China, with economic espionage and conspiring to steal General Electric’s (GE’s) trade secrets surrounding turbine technologies, knowing and intending that those stolen trade secrets would be used to benefit the People’s Republic of China," the release said.

The indictment alleges that Zheng used his access at GE to steal multiple electronic files, including proprietary files, of gas and steam turbines and shared those files with Zhang, who was located in China.

The Justice Department accuses Zheng and Zhang of using the stolen GE trade secrets to advance their personal business interests in two Chinese companies, identified as Liaoning Tianyi Aviation Technology and Nanjing Tianyi Avi Tech.

​According to the indictment, the two defendants received financial and other support for their alleged espionage from the Chinese government and coordinated with Chinese government officials to enter into research agreements with Chinese state-owned institutions to develop turbine technologies.

On the six counts of economic espionage and the seven counts of trade secret thefts, Zheng and Zhang face a maximum prison sentence of up to 25 years and a fine of up to $5.25 million. In addition, Zheng was charged with making false statements to the FBI, which carries a maximum sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000.

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