A chemical engineer was sentenced Monday to 14 years in prison in the United States for stealing trade secrets about materials used in cans of soft drinks and other beverages to benefit the Chinese government and a Chinese company.
According to the US Department of Justice, Xiaorong ‘Shannon’ You, 59, of Lansing, Michigan, was tried by a federal judge in Greeneville, Tennessee, after a jury convicted her in April. on charges that include possession of stolen trade secrets and economic espionage.
Prosecutors say You gained access to secrets about bisphenol-A-free (BPA)-free can linings while working at Coca-Cola in Atlanta and Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tenn.
According to the magistrates, the trade secrets cost the main chemical and coating companies nearly 120 million dollars (about 114 million euros).
Prosecutors further say You stole trade secrets to create a BPA-free coating company in China, and its Chinese partner, Weihai Jinhong Group, received millions of dollars in grants from the Chinese government to support the new business.
Evidence was also pointed out that You intended to benefit the Government of China, the Chinese province of Shandong, the Chinese city of Weihai and the Chinese Communist Party.
You worked at Coca-Cola as a global investigation lead engineer from December 2012 to August 2017 and was a packaging application development manager at Eastman Chemical from September 2017 to June 2018, the attorneys added.