Exclusive: U.S. accuses China of instigating plot against DuPont

Wed Feb 1, 2012 5:58am EST
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By Dan Levine

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Chinese government representatives directed a U.S. businessman to obtain valuable technology manufactured by chemical giant DuPont and U.S. authorities were seeking on Wednesday to keep him in jail ahead of his trial on charges relating to trade secret theft, prosecutors said in newly released court documents.

Walter Liew, a U.S. citizen, and his wife, Christina Liew, each were indicted last year by a Northern California grand jury on three counts, including witness tampering, making a false statement and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses and evidence, according to court documents.

A hearing on bail is scheduled for Walter Liew on Wednesday in U.S. federal court in San Francisco as prosecutors try to keep him behind bars.

According to court documents, Walter Liew paid at least two former DuPont engineers for assistance in designing chloride-route titanium dioxide, also known as TiO2. DuPont is the world's largest producer of the white pigment used to make a range of white-tinted products, including paper, paint and plastics.

Both Liew, 54, and his wife have pleaded not guilty. Liew was held without bail, while his wife was released, court documents show.

DuPont also filed a civil lawsuit against Liew for misappropriating trade secrets.

Liew denies obtaining or possessing "any confidential, proprietary trade secret materials" from DuPont regarding TiO2, according to court documents.

Last month, Liew's attorneys requested that a U.S. magistrate judge reconsider the decision to deny Liew bail. In the court filing on Tuesday, prosecutors argued for Liew's continued incarceration by listing his connections with Chinese officials.   Continued...

<p>A DuPont logo is pictured on the research center in Meyrin near Geneva August 4, 2009. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse</p>