A former Chemours employee pled guilty late last week to stealing trade secrets from the company and attempting to sell them to Chinese investors.
Jerry Jindong Xu pled guilty in the U.S. District Court of Delaware to one count of conspiracy to steal trade secrets from Chemours while he was employed at the company’s offices in Ontario, Canada.
Chemours is the world’s leading producer of sodium cyanide—a chemical used for mining precious metals. The company is headquartered in Wilmington.
Xu surreptitiously obtained confidential documents with trade secrets about the Chemours sodium cyanide business. He is said to have fabricated assignments, taken secret pictures during a tour of a Chemours manufacturing plant and used a personal email account to transfer confidential information.
Xu then set up his own company with the purpose of luring Chinese investors to set up a sodium cyanide operation to compete with Chemours. He did this using an encrypted Chinese messaging service to communicate with his co-conspirators.
U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware Anthony Weiss said in a statement, “The theft of these trade secrets so that investors from other countries, like China, can gain an unfair advantage is unacceptable.”
Xu was arrested in New York last year with warrants in the U.S. and Canada. He was arraigned in Wilmington and is now being detained until sentencing.
He could face up to ten years in prison.