Ex-IBM Developer Charged With Economic Espionage After Stealing Proprietary Source Code

In a bit of industry news: A former IBM employee in China has charged with economic espionage after he was arrested for stealing and attempting to sell proprietary source code that IBM owned. He had tried to sell the code to undercover FBI agents in the US. Here are the details.

IBM logo in browser image from Shutterstock

Xu Jianqiang worked as a developer for IBM and resigned in early 2014. He was arrested in December last year after he tried to sell the underlying source code for a clustered file system that belonged to IBM. The code was kept behind a company firewall that could only be accessed by a limited number of employees.

Xu was busted undercover law enforcement officers posing as potential buyers in the US. He has now been charged with six counts of economic espionage and theft of trade secrets “with the intent to benefit the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China”, according to a statement from the US Department of Justice. Xu would have made a nice profit in the process.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:

“As alleged, Xu Jiaqiang is charged with stealing valuable, proprietary software from his former employer, an American company, that he intended to share with an agency within the Chinese government. Economic espionage not only harms victim companies that have years or even decades of work stolen, but it also crushes the spirit of innovation and fair play in the global economy.”

Xu is set to be arraigned on June 16 in the US federal court.

[Via Reuters/US Department of Justice]

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