The United States has leveled charges against several individuals for their alleged involvement in technology theft.
The theft, believed to have benefited China, Russia, and Iran, includes cases against a former Apple engineer, Weibao Wang, who is accused of stealing proprietary information related to autonomous systems and self-driving cars before moving to China.
The cases, revealed in a Justice Department press conference, involve claims of trade secret theft and procurement networks to aid Russia’s military and intelligence sectors. These cases are the first to be announced by a new U.S. task force established to protect sensitive technologies. Matt Olsen, the head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, said “We stand vigilant in enforcing U.S. laws to stop the flow of sensitive technologies to our foreign adversaries. We are committed to doing all we can to prevent these advanced tools from falling into the hands of foreign adversaries.”
The indictment against Wang, who was employed by Apple in 2016 and left in 2017 for a Chinese self-driving car company, alleges he accessed large amounts of proprietary data before leaving the company. After federal agents found considerable amounts of Apple’s data at his home, Wang left for China.
Other individuals charged include Liming Li, for allegedly stealing trade secrets to start a competing business in China, Nikolaos “Nikos” Bogonikolos, for smuggling U.S. military technologies to Russia, Russian nationals Oleg Sergeyevich Patsulya and Vasilii Sergeyevich Besedin, for allegedly shipping aircraft parts to Russian airlines, and Xiangjiang Qiao, also known as Joe Hansen, for allegedly supplying materials used in weapons of mass destruction to Iran using a sanctioned Chinese company. While Qiao and Wang are reportedly in China, the other defendants have been arrested, according to U.S. officials.