Former Samsung Exec Indicted for Stealing Secrets for Chinese Chip Plant

A former senior executive of Samsung has been arrested and indicted for stealing trade secrets from the company to establish a copycat chip plant in China, Yonhap reports.

Korea Prosecution Service

According to the South Korean publication, the executive is accused of illegally acquiring Samsung’s confidential chip plant basic engineering data (BED) and process layout and design drawings, between August 2018 and 2019.

The individual, whose name has not been disclosed, is facing charges related to the violation of industrial technology protection and unfair competition prevention laws, as revealed by the Suwon District Prosecutors Office.

The stolen trade secrets include crucial information about semiconductor manufacturing facilities and are vital for the production of sub-30-nano DRAM and NAND flash chips.

Additionally, six other individuals, comprising one Samsung subcontractor employee and five employees of a Chinese chipmaker established by the former executive, have also been indicted.

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According to the prosecutors, the ex-executive aimed to replicate Samsung Electronics’ chip plant in Xian, China, located merely 1.5 kilometers away from the company’s own facility.

However, the plan did not come to fruition due to a Taiwanese company reneging on its promise to invest $6.2 billion in the project.

nstead, the former executive reportedly secured a 460 billion won investment from Chinese investors and managed to establish a chip manufacturing plant in Chengdu, China.

It is believed that the plant employed approximately 200 individuals from Samsung and SK hynix Inc.

The ex-executive allegedly instructed his employees to acquire and utilize Samsung’s semiconductor design data and other confidential trade secrets, implicating them in the crime.

Prosecutors estimate that Samsung suffered damages of at least 300 billion won as a result of the technology leaks.

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