DETROIT -- Three former employees of Metaldyne Corp. have been indicted on federal charges of stealing trade secrets for Chinese competitors.
Anne Lockwood, 53, her husband Michael Haehnel, 51, and Fuping Liu, 42, were charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, theft of trade secrets, computer fraud and other counts in the 64-count indictment unsealed on Wednesday. The three were arraigned in U.S. District Court in Detroit, released on bond, and surrendered their passports.
Lockwood was Metaldyne's vice president of sales until February 2004. Haehnel was a senior engineer until February 2005. Liu worked as a metallurgist until April 2004, and then left for a job at GKN Sinter Metals. Liu then worked at GKN's Shanghai, China, office until February 2005.
The indictment says the three former employees worked with others to "steal confidential, proprietary, and trade secret information from Metaldyne and GKN and use it in order to benefit Chinese competitors ... so that defendants could earn commissions from the sales made by the Chinese competitors."
The investigation is continuing.
"We are cooperating with the FBI and the Department of Justice in the investigation of these individuals," said Marge Sorge, spokeswoman for Metaldyne, which is based in Plymouth Township, Mich.
Metaldyne and GKN are both key players in the powdered metal parts industry, which includes parts such as connecting rods, tubular flanges and transfer sprocket casings.
"Anne Lockwood has done nothing wrong and we believe the charges are unfounded," said Lockwood's attorney Mark Kriger. "After the jury hears the evidence, the jury will conclude she acted properly. She did nothing wrong."
Attorneys for the two other former employees told the Bloomberg news service that the charges were unfounded.
Metaldyne ranks No. 69 on the Automotive News list of top 100 global original equipment parts suppliers with original equipment sales of $2.16 billion in 2005. GKN's parent company, GKN plc UK, ranks No. 26 with global original equipment sales of $4.82 billion in 2005.
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