An HTC senior executive is among several people who have been indicted for leaking company secrets, taking kickbacks and falsifying expenses from the Taiwanese manufacturer.
HTC Vice President for Design Thomas Chien, R&D Director Bill Wu, and Design Team Senior Manager Justin Huang have been accused of sharing smartphone interface designs for upcoming HTC products, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Chien was allegedly caught “secretly downloading files related to the upcoming Sense 6.0 UI design” when he was arrested in August. The plans were leaked to an outside partner with whom the three planned to start a business in Beijing.
A total of five HTC employees were charged with taking 33.57 million New Taiwan dollars (US$1.12 million) through falsifying expenses and receiving kickbacks from suppliers; Chien, Wu and Huang among those accused. The three were planning to leave HTC after receiving their mid-year bonuses, but they were instead caught red-handed after raids were conducted on HTC's R&D center and in the accused men's homes and offices.
HTC (TSE:2498) filed a complaint with Taiwan's Bureau of Investigation against the three main conspirators in August.
"The company expects employees to observe and practice the highest levels of integrity and ethics," HTC said after the indictment. "The company does not condone any violation."
Chien, Wu and Huang were reportedly highly involved in the design and development of the HTC One 2013 flagship smartphone, for which HTC claims the three also charged excessive fees for their work.
According to Taiwanese prosecutors, each charge of leaking company secrets and breach of trust warrants up to 10 years in prison.
The indictment comes at an already difficult time for HTC as the company deals with declining sales and the departures of several other executives.