Chinese national arrested for alleged biotech corn theft
A Chinese national who became a resident of the United States through a work visa has been arrested for allegedly stealing bioengineered corn from Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa Nicholas Klinefeldt says Mo Hailong was arrested Wednesday in Florida.
The investigation started in the summer of 2011 when Pioneer reported suspicious activity by an individual in one of their testing fields. A short time later, Monsanto reported someone digging up corn plants in one of their fields. Both turned out to be Mo Hailong.
Hailong worked for a seed company in China, Klinefeldt says the CEO and four other employees of the Chinese company are co-conspirators in the case but they all live in China or Canada and have not been arrested.
Hailong is charged with conspiracy to steal trade secrets; he will be tried in Des Moines. If convicted he faces up to 10 years in prison and a $5 million fine.
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