Yuesheng Wang, who worked in a facility in Canada that develops technology for electric vehicles and energy storage systems, has been charged with espionage and stands accused of sharing trade secrets with China.
The 35-year-old, who was arrested at his home near Montreal on Monday, worked with the local utility, Hydro-Quebec. He did not, however, have access to information about its “core mission” of providing the province’s residents with electricity, reports The Canadian Press.
Wang worked in a smaller division of the organization, at the Center of Excellence in Transportation Electrification and Energy Storage, but his employment has been terminated. First caught by his own team, Hydro-Quebec and its security team launched an investigation before notifying the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
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Wang is accused of obtaining industrial secrets and using them to do work at research centers and a university in China. He also allegedly published scientific articles and filed patents associated with those Chinese institutions, rather than with Hydro-Quebec. Finally, he is accused of using information without his employer’s consent and harming its intellectual property. It is not clear if Wang was paid by China for his alleged actions.
According to RCMP Inspector David Beaudoin, this is the first time that someone has faced economic espionage charges in Canada, which falls under the Security of Information Act. Wang will also be charged with fraud, breach of trust by a public officer, and using a computer without authorization.
Although Wang is the first person to be charged with economic espionage, the RCMP says that foreign interference is a growing concern for law enforcement agencies. For the accused, the espionage charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.