By Dan Levine
SAN FRANCISCO, March 5 A U.S. jury on Wednesday
convicted a California businessman of stealing DuPont
trade secrets to help a state-owned Chinese company develop a
white pigment used in a wide range of products.
In a San Francisco federal court, jurors found Walter Liew
guilty on multiple counts including conspiracy to commit
economic espionage and trade secret theft.
U.S. prosecutors contended Liew paid former DuPont engineers
to reveal trade secrets that would help the Chinese company,
Pangang Group, develop a white pigment called chloride-route
titanium dioxide, also known as TiO2. The pigment is used to
make a variety of white-tinted products, including paper, paint
Liew's attorney Stuart Gasner said they were "very
disappointed" by the verdict.
"Walter Liew is a good man in whom we believe and for whom
we will continue to fight," Gasner said.
Defense attorneys argued Liew never intended to benefit the
Chinese government, and that the DuPont materials he handled
were not trade secrets.
The United States has identified industrial spying as a
significant and growing threat. DuPont is the world's largest
producer of TiO2.
Prosecutors also charged Pangang Group, a steel
manufacturer in Sichuan province, in the case, but that
indictment stalled after a U.S. judge ruled that prosecutors'
attempts to notify Pangang of the charges were legally
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of
California is United States of America vs. Walter Liew et al.,