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The United States accused the citizens of Russia and China of stealing secret American technology


The United States accused the citizens of Russia and China of stealing secret American technology

Apple technologies and military equipment were secretly exported from the United States in circumvention of prohibitions.

United States Department of Justice (DoJ) charged several citizens, including a former engineer Applein stealing American technology in the interests of China, Russia and Iran.

In the first case a former Apple engineer – a Chinese citizen who worked for the company in 2016 – stole equipment, documents and source code related to Apple’s Project Titan autonomous car project.

Four months before Weibao Wang, 35, left Apple, he took a second job in the US at a branch of a Chinese company developing self-driving cars. After Wang left, Apple discovered that he had accessed a large amount of sensitive information in the days before he was fired. Authorities ransacked his home in 2018 and found Apple data. On the same day, Wang urgently flew to China.

Although the US does not have an extradition treaty with China and Wang is unlikely to ever return, he is subject to a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each of the 6 counts of stealing or attempting to steal company secrets.

In the second case Senior Software Engineer Liming Li allegedly coded the metrology software used in smart car manufacturing equipment from two unknown former employers and used the code to set up his own business in China.

The software refers to high-precision measurements often used in 3D modeling and is applicable to submarines, military aircraft and other industries under export control. Such technologies can only be exported with a license from US authorities. Li was arrested in May when he arrived in California on a flight from Taiwan. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

In the third case a Greek citizen is accused of compromising procurement networks to help the Russian army and intelligence. According to the prosecution, the criminal provided the Russian government with more than 10 types of technology and served as an intermediary in purchases for Russia.

According to DoJ, the defendant pretended to be a buyer of quantum cryptography testing equipment, nuclear weapons and tactical field equipment for his employer Aratos – but Nikos shipped all the equipment to Russia. A Greek citizen has been arrested in Paris and is awaiting extradition.

In the fourth case two Russian citizens were charged with supplying prohibited materials, including braking equipment, to Russian commercial airlines. Russians Arrested in Arizona and Charged with Conspiracy to Violate the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA) and International Money Laundering

Fifth Case concerns a Chinese citizen who allegedly helped supply Iran with isostatic graphite – a material used in weapons of mass destruction – in circumvention of US sanctions. Suspect Xiangjiang Qiao (Joe Hansen) is hiding in China.

The cases are the first enforcement actions of the recently formed Disruptive Technology Strike Force, a group led by the Department of Commerce in conjunction with the US Department of Justice. The main goal of the group is to protect confidential American technologies from illegal acquisition by US adversaries. This includes the source code for smart automotive manufacturing equipment or elements used to develop quantum cryptography.

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