California man sentenced to 15 years in prison for economic espionage

California man sentenced to 15 years in prison for economic espionage

A California man has been slapped with a jail term of 15 years along with a hefty fine of $28.3 million for leaking a company secret to China.

Walter Liew, a naturalized citizen of the United States, found guilty of receiving 28 million from Chinese companies in exchange for leaking DuPont Co's pigment technology that is used to make paper, vehicles and many other things whiter. The companies to which he leaked the secret are reportedly controlled by his in-laws.

A jury found Liew guilty earlier this year on more than twenty criminal counts, including economic espionage and stealing trade secret.

Pronouncing the ruling, U. S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White in Oakland said Liew preferred greed over the country that adopted him. Liew, now 56, was born in Malaysia to Chinese parents.

Clad in a yellow prison jumpsuit at time of his sentencing in the federal court, Liew apologized for his actions. Admitting his blunder, he said, "There are many things I would have liked to have done differently. I regret my actions."

Liew and his wife Christina Liew launched a small company in California in the 1990s. In order to exploit China's desire to gain the white pigment technology called titanium dioxide, the couple hired former DuPont engineers and gave them thousands of dollars for stealing and sharing the technology.

Apart from Liew, two former DuPont engineers were also convicted of economic espionage. Another engineer, who was ready to sign a plea bargain admitting his role in the economic conspiracy, committed suicide in 2012.

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