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Chery says it was unaware of GM technology theft case

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Chery says it was unaware of GM technology theft case

July 23, 2010 06:01 CET

SHANGHAI (Reuters) -- China's Chery Automobile Co. said today it was unaware of a U.S. case of alleged theft of General Motors Co. technology that had been linked to the Chinese firm.

A Detroit couple was charged on Thursday in a U.S. court with conspiring to steal trade secrets related to hybrid vehicles from GM to pass on to Chery, a major Chinese carmarker.

"We had no idea about this issue until we read about in the media," Jin Yibo, spokesman for Chery, told Reuters by telephone. "It seems strange to us and we don't understand why Chery's name is being linked to this matter."

Yu Qin, 49, and his wife Shanshan Du, 51, of Troy, Michigan, were charged in a seven-count indictment that was unsealed on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

Qin and Du, who worked as a GM engineer, are accused of trying to pass stolen information to Chinese automakers through a small firm they owned called Millenium Technology International.

Du is accused of copying thousands of GM documents to an external hard drive five days after the automaker offered her a severance agreement in January 2005.

She left GM's advanced technology group in March 2005. In August, Qin and Du proposed a joint venture on hybrids to China's Chery in a series of e-mails, according to the indictment.

Then in November 2005 Qin applied for jobs as a hybrid engineer, claiming on his resume that he had invented some of the stolen GM technology, prosecutors say.

The counts charging conspiracy to possess trade secrets and unauthorized possession of trade secrets carry a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

The wire fraud counts, and an obstruction charge, carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100723/COPY/307239925/1131#ixzz0uVzsg7lU

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