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BASF workers in Taiwan suspected of leaking company secrets


TAIPEI/(Reuters) - is investigating six current and former employees of local operations suspected of leaking corporate secrets to a rival Chinese company, an said on Monday.

Five employees were detained and one had been granted bail by a court, Lu Sung Hao, Taipei-based of Taiwan's Crime Investigation Bureau, told The prosecution has not filed any charges against them.

The case comes amid fears among officials and executives around the globe about industrial espionage by

The Bureau said in a statement that a was suspected of stealing electronic manufacturing processes, technology, and other trade secrets, and leaking and selling them to a competitor in for a high price.

The company that paid for the information was identified as China's Jiangyin Jianghua Microelectronics Materials Co., which had offered 40 million yuan ($5.8 million) to the current and former employees in return for the to build a factory in China, Lu said.

The employees had received a series of payments totalling T$40 million ($1.30 million) late last year in two bank accounts, Lu said.

Jianghua Micro said in an e-mail to on Tuesday that it had not received any letter with the investigation's allegations.

"The company has never used dollars, the renminbi, U.S. dollars or any currency to pay for data," it said in the e-mail that was signed by its board office. "The company's employees all strictly abide by China's labour and contract laws."

The company, which also said that it owns 58 patents, says on its website that it manufactures and supplies that are used in products like and flat panel displays.

German company said that only one of the people under investigation is a current employee and that the individual's contract had now been suspended.

"We have taken immediate steps to support the investigation led by local law enforcement officials and protect the relevant information," said.

The company and the Bureau both declined to provide any estimate on financial losses.

Officials in and the have been accusing Chinese companies of intellectual property theft amid China's multi-billion drive to cut reliance on and build up its own industry.

Taiwan has vowed to defend its chip industry, the island's economic backbone, by tightening its regulations and penalties on corporate espionage.

reported in November that German prosecutors were pressing criminal charges against a former employee of maker for allegedly stealing trade secrets to set up a Chinese copycat reactor.

($1 = 6.8506 Chinese yuan renminbi)

($1 = 30.8140 Taiwan dollars)

(Reporting by Tom Sims in and Yi-Mou Lee in Taipei, additional reporting by Jessica Macy Yu in and Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Editing by Kirsten Donovan/& Simon Cameron-Moore)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 10:54 IST