Recording contradicts defendant in GM trade secrets case
DETROIT -- Federal prosecutors say a Michigan man accused of unauthorized possession of General Motors’ trade secrets lied to his employer about a side company he and his wife operated.
From 1997 to 2005, Yu Qin was vice president of engineering and r&d at Controlled Power Co., a Troy, Mich., company that designs electrical power equipment and systems.
During the trial today, prosecutors played segments of a recorded interview with Qin and other Controlled Power executives from Aug. 30, 2005. In it, Qin denied any involvement with Millennium Technology International Inc. -- a company Qin and his wife, Shanshan Du, incorporated in 2000. His wife was a GM engineer when they started Millennium.
Qin and Du face charges of stealing GM hybrid technology for a business venture to build a hybrid electric vehicle in China with Chery Automobile Co., a Chinese auto manufacturer and GM competitor.
Millennium, like Controlled Power, was a power electronics business, but the couple wanted to venture into hybrid technology.
Instead of saying he was president of Millennium, Qin told the Controlled Power executives that his wife ran the company.
After playing several excerpts of Qin denying any role in Millennium, prosecutors presented several Millennium corporate filings that listed Qin as president.
During the interview, the other Controlled Power executives left the room momentarily with Qin still inside, but they left the recorder on.
While Qin was alone, the recorder captured Qin calling a co-worker and directing him to get a bag from Qin’s office and put it in the co-worker’s office.
The bag, found hidden in the co-worker’s office later that day, contained electrical components and -- as GM discovered during a later analysis -- an external hard drive containing 16,262 GM documents that Du had copied earlier that year after accepting a severance agreement.
Qin was fired that day.
Qin and Du were indicted in July 2010 and pleaded not guilty to three counts each of trade theft and wire fraud. Qin also was charged with obstruction of justice.
Each of the trade theft counts carries a 10-year sentence and/or a $250,000 fine. Both the wire fraud and obstruction of justice counts carry a penalty of 20 years and/or a $250,000 fine.
The trial began Monday and is expected to last until about Thanksgiving.
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