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Pair Indicted In GM Spy Case

Engineer, husband, had been passing secrets to Chinese.

by on Jul.26, 2010

Trade secrets for GM hybrid technology -- the maker's prototype Saturn Vue plug-in shown here -- were allegedly taken by a Chinese engineer and her husband.

A federal grand jury in Detroit has indicted two engineers of Chinese descent with corporate espionage that had targeted General Motors Corp. hybrid technology by stealing documents with a market value of $40 million.

The case was considered significant enough for FBI agents to keep the pair under surveillance long enough for agents to watch as they disposed of shredded documents in a dumpster behind a suburban Detroit shopping mall.

Charged in the seven-count indictment are Yu Qin, aka Yu Chin, 49, and his wife, Shanshan Du, aka Shannon Du, 51, of Troy, Michigan.

From December 2003 and continuing through May 2006, according to the indictment, the defendants conspired to possess trade secret information of General Motors relating to hybrid vehicles, knowing that the information had been stolen, converted, or obtained without authorization.

The indictment charges that Du, while employed by GM, provided GM trade secret information relating to hybrid vehicles to her husband, Qin, for his benefit and for the benefit of  their own privately-held  company, Millennium Technology International Inc.

Approximately five days after Du was offered a severance agreement by GM in January 2005, she copied thousands of GM documents, including trade secret documents, to an external computer hard drive used for MTI business.

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A few months later, Qin moved forward on a new business venture to provide hybrid vehicle technology to Chery Automobile, a Chinese automotive manufacturer based in China and a competitor of GM.