US judge sentences man to 15 years in China spying case
A U.S. judge sentenced a California businessman to 15 years in prison on Thursday for stealing DuPont trade secrets to help a state-owned Chinese company develop a white pigment used in a wide range of products.
A jury found Walter Liew guilty earlier this year on over 20 criminal counts, including conspiracy to commit economic espionage and trade secret theft. The government had requested a sentence of between 17-1/2 years and nearly 22 years in prison. Attorneys for Liew argued he should receive a maximum sentence of eight years.
At Thursday's sentencing, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White said Liew, a U.S. citizen, "turned against his adopted country for greed."
At his trial, U.S. prosecutors said Liew paid former DuPont employees to reveal trade secrets that would help China's Pangang Group develop a white pigment called chloride-route titanium dioxide, also known as TiO2. The pigment is used to make a variety of white-tinted products, including paper, paint and plastics.
Prosecutors also charged Pangang Group, a steel manufacturer in Sichuan province, in the case, but that indictment stalled after a U.S. judge ruled that prosecutors' attempts to notify the Chinese company of the charges were legally insufficient.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is United States of America vs. Walter Liew et al., no. 11-cr-573.