Motorola: More people involved in Chinese spy ring

September 24, 2008 6:38:10 AM PDT
The alleged Chinese spy that federal authorities say was caught "red-handed" was not working alone, according to her former employer Motorola Inc.Tech giant Motorola filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against ex-software engineer Hanjuan Jin, who has already been charged criminally by federal prosecutors, and three of her co-workers alleging that they stole more than $600 million in top-secret corporate files.

The three other former Motorola employees named in the lawsuit were accused of computer fraud and abuse, misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of fiduciary duty at the Schaumburg-based tech giant.

Xiaohua Wu of Kildeer; Xuefeng Bai of Buffalo Grove; and Xiaohong Sheng of Vernon Hills are alleged in the suit to have worked with Jin in the scheme to spy on Motorola and deliver trade secrets to a Chinese competitor.

Ms. Jin, 37 of Schaumburg, was arrested by federal agents last year as she was about to walk onto a plane at O'Hare bound for Beijing, China. Authorities say she was attempting to smuggle cash and thousands of company secrets to China on behalf of a Beijing firm that had secretly hired her.

Jin is the only one of the four currently facing criminal charges and is scheduled to go on trial January 5th.

"The federal government is saying basically that you're a corporate spy. What about that?" the I-Team's Chuck Goudie asked Jin in an exclusive television report last summer.

"No, I'm not. I'm not. I'm not," she responded.

"You're not a spy?" Goudie asked.

"They made a mistake," Jin said.

When Jin returned to Motorola from medical leave in February of 2007, authorities say, she did just that, downloading hundreds of confidential documents from the company's supposedly secure internal network, including documents related to public safety organizations in Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Two days later, she arrived at O'Hare Airport with a one-way ticket to Beijing.

"What were you doing at O'Hare Airport with a one-way ticket to China?" Goudie asked.

"No, I go to visit my mom. My husband and my mom are China," she said.

Hanjuan Jin was just a few steps away from boarding a United 747 non-stop to China. It was only a routine check of passengers by customs agents that revealed she was carrying $30,000 in cash after declaring she had only $10,000.

"Why were you on a one-way ticket?" Goudie asked.

"Because I can buy it cheaper to China," Jin said.

"They say you're a spy," Goudie said.

"They say that, but it's not true. They make mistake. They're paranoid. They wrongly accuse me. I have fatal disease," Jin said.

"What is the fatal disease?" Goudie asked.

"I have TB and meningitis," Jin said.

"You have tuberculosis?" Goudie asked.

"I almost died," Jin responded.

During the search of Jin and her bags at O'Hare, federal agents say they found a laptop computer and more than 30 compact data storage devices containing stolen Motorola files.

Jin told Goudie the files had been given to her by a supervisor at Motorola to refresh her memory from the medical leave.

In the past year, there have been at least a dozen criminal cases of Chinese espionage brought in the U.S.

The lawsuit filed on Tuesday is not the first to be brought by Motorola against a former employee in an alleged corporate espionage case.

Michael Fenger was a vice president for Motorola's mobile-device business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, a position he left earlier this year. According to a separate lawsuit filed against him in Cook County Circuit Court, Fenger is now Apple's vice president for global iPhone sales.

Fenger was "privy to the pricing, margins, customer initiatives, allocation of resources, product development, multiyear-product, business and talent planning, and strategies being used by Motorola," according to the complaint.

Fenger's employment by Apple allegedly violates his written agreement not to work for a competitor for at least two years after leaving Motorola.


Load Comments