U.S. accuses China of instigating plot against DuPont

Wed Feb 1, 2012 8:54pm EST
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By Dan Levine

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Federal authorities successfully kept a U.S. businessman in jail on Wednesday ahead of his trial on charges relating to trade secret theft, and argued that it was Chinese government representatives who directed him to obtain valuable technology manufactured by chemical giant DuPont.

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

Now newly released court documents from prosecutors provide fresh details about Walter Liew's alleged links with the Chinese government. They name, as one of the Chinese representatives who met with him, a high-ranking Communist Party official who later became a member of the Politburo.

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

On Wednesday, he appeared in a yellow prison jump suit at a San Francisco federal court hearing where U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathaniel Cousins rejected defense attempts to obtain his release.

Liew attorney Thomas Nolan maintained in court that Liew had only possessed publicly available information.

"There is nothing at all illegal about that conduct," Nolan said. "What is illegal is if he uses trade secrets."

Liew paid at least two former DuPont engineers for assistance in designing chloride-route titanium dioxide, also known as TiO2, according to the indictment. 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.   Continued...