Photo: Intiaz Rahim (Flickr)
A Chinese national who worked for an Indiana agricultural science company faces up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of economic espionage. It is only the seventh time in U.S. history such charges have been filed.
Kexue Huang plead guilty to stealing trade secrets from two American companies and giving them to a foreign university tied to the government of China. Huang allegedly began stealing information about an organic pesticide from Dow AgroSciences in Indianapolis in 2007.
Dow, which conducted its own investigation into Huang’s activities, fired him in 2008. He then went to work for Cargill in Minnesota, where he also faces economic espionage charges.
U.S. Attorney for Indiana’s Southern District Joseph Hogsett says all American companies need to be on the lookout for this kind of breach.
“In many ways, the Cold War is not over,” he says. “It has simply moved into the new arena of the global marketplace.”
Cargill and Dow estimate their losses at between $7 million and $20 million.