A former Dow Chemical Company scientist has been sentenced to five years in prison for selling trade secrets to Chinese companies, the US Justice Department announced Friday.
Wen Chyu Liu, also known as David Liou, was convicted February 7, 2011 of stealing and selling secrets about Dow Chemical's Tyrin chlorinated polyethylene (CPE) process.
The process is used to manufacture automotive and industrial hoses, electrical cable jackets and vinyl siding.
He also was convicted of perjury for lying to cover up his involvement in a conspiracy that included at least four of his coworkers. He was sentenced on Thursday in US District Court in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
In addition to the prison sentence, Liu, 75, must forfeit $600,000 and pay a $25,000 fine.
Liu came to the United States from China as a graduate university student. He started working as a research scientist for Dow Chemical in 1965 and retired in 1992.
Liu was based at the company's Plaquemine, Louisiana facility to develop elastomers, including Tyrin CPE.
"Liu had access to trade secrets and confidential and proprietary information pertaining to Dow's Tyrin CPE process and product technology," a Justice Department statement said.
Prosecutors said he traveled extensively throughout China to market the stolen information. He also was accused of paying current and former Dow Chemical employees for material and information about the secret chemicals.
"In one instance, Liu bribed a then-employee at the Plaquemine facility with $50,000 in cash to provide Dow's process manual and other CPE-related information," the Justice Department reported.
The Midland, Michigan-based company said in a statement that, "Because of his education and position within the company, Mr. Liou knew of its immense value."
Dow Chemical called the theft of its trade secrets "a complete betrayal of the trust imparted to Mr. Liou as a Dow employee."
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