U.S. charges Chinese men in technology smuggling case

Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:20pm EST
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By Teresa Carson

PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) - Two Chinese men accused of trying to sneak sensitive technology with military applications out of the United States by posing as American businessmen have been charged with conspiracy and money laundering in a federal indictment unsealed on Tuesday.

The indictment accused the men of creating a "sophisticated scheme" involving Westernized aliases, a fake website and falsely assumed names of other businesses to conceal their true identities and nationality from the Oregon-based company that makes the technology.

The aim of the unsuccessful scheme, according to the 12-count indictment, was to purchase devices that have "dual use" commercial and military applications without obtaining the required export licenses.

"This indictment tells illicit traders that violating the U.S. export regulations threatens our national security and will be dealt with accordingly," said Julie Salcido, special agent-in-charge of the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry, Office of Export Enforcement.

The indictment, returned last year against Wan Li Yuan, who assumed the name Nicholas Bush, and a second Chinese resident who used the alias Jason Jiang, identified the technology in question as programmable logic devices, or PLDs, which have military applications in equipment such as missiles and radar systems.

It said the devices are made by Lattice Semiconductor Corporation of Hillsboro, Oregon, to perform at extreme temperature ranges and are tested to military specifications.

It is doubtful the men will ever see a U.S. courtroom as China is unlikely to hand them over to American authorities.

"Even if we cannot arrest them overseas, we will seek to forfeit any assets we find in the United States," Amanda Marshall, U.S. Attorney for Oregon, said in a statement.   Continued...