Feds: China Behind DuPont Theft

Monday, February 6, 2012 @ 10:02 AM gHale


Chinese government representatives directed a U.S. businessman to obtain valuable technology manufactured by chemical giant DuPont, and that is why U.S. authorities want to keep him in jail ahead of his trial on charges relating to trade secret theft, prosecutors said.

A Northern California grand jury last year indicted Walter Liew, a U.S. citizen, and his wife, Christina Liew, on three counts, including witness tampering, making a false statement and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses and evidence, according to court documents.

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A bail hearing Walter Liew is coming up in U.S. federal court in San Francisco and prosecutors try to keep him behind bars.

Walter Liew paid at least two former DuPont engineers for assistance in designing chloride-route titanium dioxide, also known as TiO2, according to court documents. DuPont is the world’s largest producer of the white pigment used to make a range of white-tinted products, including paper, paint and plastics.

Liew, 54, and his wife have pleaded not guilty. Officials are holding Liew, while they released his wife, court documents show.

DuPont also filed a civil lawsuit against Liew for misappropriating trade secrets.

Liew denies obtaining or possessing “any confidential, proprietary trade secret materials” from DuPont regarding TiO2, according to court documents.

Last month, Liew’s attorneys requested that a U.S. magistrate judge reconsider the decision to deny Liew bail. In the court filing, prosecutors argued for Liew’s continued incarceration by listing his connections with Chinese officials.

Liew was at a banquet in 1991 by Luo Gan, who at the time was a high-ranking official of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, according to correspondence from Liew that U.S. federal officials say they seized from his safety deposit box. Luo Gan went on to become a member of the nine-member Standing Committee of the Politburo, prosecutors wrote in the filing.

Several other Chinese officials also attended, according to the documents.

“The purpose of the banquet is to thank me for being a patriotic overseas Chinese who has made contributions to China,” Liew wrote in a memo to a Chinese company, according to U.S. prosecutors, “and who has provided key technologies with national defense applications, in paint/coating and microwave communications.”

Luo Gan gave Liew directives at the meeting, and two days later Liew received a list of “key task projects,” including TiO2, prosecutors said.

“DuPont’s state-of-the-art technology is not available publicly and PRC (People’s Republic of China) companies have not been able to master it on their own,” prosecutors wrote. “Liew, however, obtained that technology from former DuPont employees and sold it to companies controlled by the PRC government.”



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