The US Justice Department said Thursday that a Chinese national was sentenced to 29 months in prison after being convicted in January of conspiring to steal trade secrets from agricultural company Monsanto for the Chinese government.
Chiang Haitao, 44, who worked for Monsanto and one of its affiliates from 2008 to 2017, pleaded guilty in Missouri federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit economic espionage.
The Justice Department said in a statement on Thursday that he was sentenced to 29 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a $150,000 fine.
“Chiang conspired to steal an important trade secret to gain an unfair advantage for him and the People’s Republic of China,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the Department of Justice’s Department of National Security.
“Economic espionage is a serious crime that can threaten the competitive advantage of American companies, and the National Security Service is committed to holding anyone who steals trade secrets for a foreign government accountable,” Olsen said.
The Department of Justice said that federal officials found that Chiang possessed copies of a proprietary predictive algorithm developed by Monsanto while he was waiting to board a flight to China in June 2017.
He was allowed to travel to China, where he worked at the Institute of Soil Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The Justice Department added that he was arrested upon his return to the United States in November 2019.
Bayer AG acquired Monsanto in 2018.
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