Publicado: Sol, Noviembre 04, 2018
Global | Por Milagro Delgado

USA to Step Up Espionage Enforcement Against China, Official Says

USA to Step Up Espionage Enforcement Against China, Official Says

The action also follows heightened trade tensions between the United States and China as the Trump administration has imposed tariffs on about US$250 billion of Chinese exports since July.

Micron said in a statement that it "has invested billions of dollars over decades to develop its intellectual property". "We are here today to say, 'Enough is enough.' We're not going to take it anymore".

"We appreciate the U.S. Department of Justice's decision to prosecute the criminal theft of our intellectual property", said Joel Poppen, senior vice president, legal affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary at Micron Technology. If convicted, each company faces a maximum fine of more than US$20 billion, it said. In the meantime, Washington is signaling that the gloves are off.

The attorney general described it as a "brazen scheme" to steal and clone technology in order to compete with the US.

Sessions is ordering the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the department's National Security Division, led by John Demers, to step up enforcement, the official said.

One of the charged individuals had been president of a company that Micron acquired in 2013 and then went to work for the Taiwan semiconductor company, United Microelectronics Corporation, where prosecutors say he orchestrated the theft.

After Fujian Jinhua was placed on the export ban list by the Department of Commerce, UMC promptly declared on October 31 that it would suspend all business activity with the Chinese company. They are accused of conspiring to steal technology from Micron Technology, an Idaho-based chipmaker that does extensive business in Asia.

While at UMC, Chen recruited numerous MMT employees, including Ho and Wang, to join him at UMC.

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The US government claims that through these actions China is breaking global fair trade agreements. He moved in 2015 to lead UMC, a contract chip manufacturer listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and subsequently became president of Fujian Jinhua.

The indictment came four months after Fujian Jinhua won a patent dispute with Micron in a Chinese court, gaining an order for the US company to stop sales in China of more than a dozen solid-state drives, memory sticks and chips.

According to the indictment, the Taiwanese nationals downloaded more than 900 confidential files from Micron.

Alex Tse, the US attorney in San Francisco, said China hasn't yet begun making products using the stolen technology NBC News reported.

According to the DOJ, the three individual defendants face up to 15 years imprisonment and $5 million in fines on the espionage counts, with a further 10 years of possible jail time for trade secrets theft.

The Department of Commerce took similar actions on Monday when the agency restricted exports to Fujian Jinhua, calling the company a national security risk. All the three Taiwanese have been charged.

The Commerce Department has added Jinhua to an Entity List to prevent it from buying goods and services in the United States to limit profitability from stolen tech. Without equipment sold only in the United States, Jinhua can not build the DRAM chips.

Prior to the plot, United States prosecutors said, neither the Chinese nor the Taiwanese company had any DRAM production capability. We can identify exactly what they are doing. UMC said it regretted not having the opportunity to discuss the matter with US authorities and will respond to the allegations accordingly, adding it expected no impact from the charges on its finances or business.

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