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Ford man jailed for secrets theft

2011-04-14 07:42

SHARING SECRETS: A former Ford employee was jailed and ordered to pay a fine after stealing sensitive information from the carmaker.

DETROIT, Michigan - A Chinese engineer who stole Ford trade secrets has been sentenced to almost six years in prison, according to the US Attorney's office here.

Xiang Dong Yu, also known as Mike Yu, of Beijing, China, was sentenced to 70 months and fined $12 500 (about R85 000) after pleading guilty to two counts of theft of trade secrets. When he's freed his permanent residence permit will be revoked and he will be deported.

JOB IN CHINA

Yu, 49, was arrested in October 2009 when he arrived at Chicago's O'Hare airport from China and charged with stealing thousands of documents detailing Ford designs and worth millions of dollars. He was a product engineer with Ford from 1997 to early 2007.

In December 2006 he accepted a job at the China branch of a US company. On the eve of his departure from Ford and before he told the automaker of his new job, Yu copied some 4000 Ford documents on to a portable hard drive, including sensitive Ford engine, transmission and electric power supply systems.

Yu e-mailed Ford from China in January, 2007 to say he was leaving the company's employment. He eventually joined Chinese automaker Beijing Automotive.
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