Thursday, March 27, 2008, 3/27/2008 10:42:00 AM

Economic Espionage -- South Koreans Getting Into the Act

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a story concerning an alleged case of criminal trade secrets misappropriation by a former research and development associate at Lubrizol.

The researcher, Kyung Kim, stands accused of of selling company trade secrets to a South Korean competitor, SK Chemicals -- allegedly meeting SK officials 17 times over a seven-year period. The claim is that he received $170,000 in return for the trade secrets provided. The two companies are competitors in the specialty chemicals area, particularly with respect to thermoplastic polyurethane.

According to the article, after downloading sensitive Lubrizol product data onto a computer, Kim traveled at least 17 times to Arizona, Canada and South Korea to meet with the executives. The meetings took place at hotels and condominiums and would finish with a $10,000 cash payment to Kim, usually in $100 bills, plus his travel expenses.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Roberts is quoted as saying that the case "demonstrates that we are committed to investigating and prosecuting those who engage in industrial espionage to steal the intellectual capital of U.S. corporations."

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