Thursday, September 27, 2007

Chinese, US citizens charged with espionage in San Francisco


A Chinese national and a US citizen have been charged with conspiring to steal sensitive microchip designs capable of use in military technology, justice officials said Wednesday.

The US Attorney's office in northern California said Lee Lan and Ge Yuefei had been indicted on multiple charges of conspiracy to commit economic espionage and to steal trade secrets.

Lee, 42, a US citizen, and Ge, 34, a Chinese national, had sought to steal secrets from their employer, NetLogics Microsystems, and from the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation, a statement said.

The two men had set up a company for the purpose of developing and marketing products related to the stolen trade secrets, and had attempted to secure funding from the Chinese government, it added.

"The vigorous enforcement of intellectual property statutes increases the economic vitality of this region, and adds to the security of our nation as a whole," US attorney Scott Schools said.

"This office is committed to the prosecution of individuals who seek to benefit foreign governments or instrumentalities with stolen trade secrets."

Lee and Ge have been released on 300,000 dollars bail and must reappear in court on October 29. They face up to 15 years in jail and a 500,000 dollar fine if convicted.

US officials have said China and Russia are spying in the United States at levels close to those of the Cold War........

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