A Chinese engineer arrested on suspicion of stealing Ford Motor Co. trade secrets will likely face additional charges after more secret data was found on his computer, U.S. prosecutors said this week.
Xiang Dong Yu was arrested last month when he arrived at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport from China on charges that he stole thousands of secret documents detailing Ford designs that prosecutors say were worth millions of dollars.
In court papers filed in Michigan this week, prosecutors said that FBI agents seized a laptop Yu had when he arrived and discovered more Ford trade secret design documents as well as confidential documents from a company they did not identify.
Based on what was recovered from the defendant's laptop, there is a strong prospect that the defendant will be charged with additional offenses based on the additional trade secret documents of Ford and the unidentified other company, the document said.
Yu, who had permanent resident status in the United States, has been held in prison without bail since his arrest on five felony counts. Prosecutors asked the court not to release him because they feared he would try to return to China.
The United States has no extradition treaty with Beijing.
If the defendant is successful in returning to his home in China, the government will never secure the defendant's presence back in the United States to answer to these charges, they said.
His lawyer argued in a court filing that his client was not a flight risk and wanted to stay and defend against the charges levied against him.
A U.S. judge on Friday denied Yu bail.
Yu, also known as Mike Yu, worked at Ford from 1997 through early 2007. The original indictment accused Yu of taking Ford design documents to help him land a job with Chinese automotive companies as early as 2005.
In late 2006, Yu got a new job with Foxconn, PCE Industry Inc and copied more than 4,000 Ford documents to an external hard drive before traveling to China to his new company's manufacturing hub, according to the indictment.
The indictment said Yu e-mailed his supervisor from China saying that he would be leaving Ford after he returned to the United States and he began working for Foxconn, PCE Industry Inc in early 2007.
The latest government filing said Ford had estimated the value of the stolen design documents was $24 million to $32 million based on the labor costs alone to create and maintain them.
A year later, Yu tried to use information he took from the U.S. automaker to get a job with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp, which competes with Ford, but he failed, the indictment said.
He later accepted a position at Beijing Automotive Industry Corp., another Ford competitor and China's fifth-largest automaker. The company said he worked in its research division before leaving for the United States on a personal trip.
(Editing by Xavier Briand)