Friday, October 16, 2009, 10/16/2009 11:16:00 AM

Ford Motor Design Secrets Allegedly Pilfered by Chinese Ex-Employee

By Todd

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that an ex-employee of Ford Motor Company has been criminally charged with stealing approximately 4000 pages of documents that included system design specifications for an engine and transmission mounting subsystem, electrical distribution system, electric power supply, electrical subsystem and generic body module.

Xiang Dong Yu, a.k.a. Mike Yu, 47, of Beijing is charged with theft of trade secrets, attempted theft of trade secrets and unauthorized access to a protected computer.

Yu was arrested Wednesday at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport after he exited a flight from China and remains in federal custody in Chicago, where a detention hearing is set for Tuesday.

Yu worked for Ford from 1997 to 2007, according to the indictment. In December 2006, Yu took a job at the Chinese branch of a U.S. company.

The company, Foxconn PCE Industry Inc., is an electronics manufacturer, according to the indictment, and is not accused of wrongdoing in the documents filed Thursday. Officials at Foxconn could not be reached for comment Thursday. Yu was later hired by Beijing Automotive Corp., which also isn't cited for wrongdoing.

U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg told the Free Press that the investigation began when Ford alerted the FBI to its suspicions.

"There's no question that when times are hard that the importance of a company's competitive edge and trade secret information increases," Berg said.

Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans declined to discuss details of the case.

"We are fully cooperating with authorities," Evans said.


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