South Korean prosecutors indicted nine people, including officials of a Samsung Electronics supplier group, for allegedly selling Samsung’s latest OLED display technology to Chinese rivals.

The president and managing director of Toptec, the vice president of a Toptec affiliate and seven employees of the Samsung supplier were charged by the Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office on Thursday. The two companies, Toptec and its affiliate, were also indicted.

The suspects and the companies are accused of leaking Samsung’s latest OLED screen technology to four Chinese companies in exchange for 15.5 billion won or US$13.8 million, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

Toptec has since issued a statement to Reuters to deny any wrongdoing. “Our company has never provided Samsung Display’s industrial technology or business secrets to a Chinese client. Our company will fully cooperate with legal proceedings to find the truth in court,” the company stated.

The prosecutors did not name the four companies that received the leaked files, but an industry source claims that one of them could be BOE Technology Group, a supplier of smartphone screens for Huawei Technologies.

It should be noted that Huawei is currently competing with Samsung in a race to launch the world’s first foldable smartphone. Samsung already demoed its handset with flexible OLED display at a San Francisco conference early this month ahead of its early-2019 target release.

On the other hand, Huawei has been teasing that it will likely be the first to commercially release a foldable smartphone next year. The Chinese manufacturer has yet to show off its device, but it is currently busy preparing it with the help of BOE.

Another company that is believed to have benefited from the leak is China Star Optoelectronics Technology, the No. 2 display panel maker in China at present. No information on the two other companies that illegally obtained Samsung’s intellectual property was disclosed.

Samsung reportedly spent 150 billion won or US$135 million in a span of six years just to perfect the technology that enables it to accurately attach OLED panels to curved smartphone cover glasses. This curved OLED edge panel technology is currently found on the Galaxy Note 9, and it is bound to come to the Galaxy S10 models early next year.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Samsung Display said it was “shocked at the results of the investigation by prosecutors, at a time when competitors are intensifying their technological rivalry.” Samsung’s display-making division added that it is going to keep track of the trial.

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Nine people and two companies were charged by South Korean prosecutors this week for allegedly leaking Samsung’s latest display technology to the company’s Chinese rivals. Getty Images/Jung Yeon-je