(Adds details on arrest, trial date)
By Carey Gillam
July 2 A Chinese woman has been arrested and
charged with trying to steal patented U.S. seed technology as
part of a plot to smuggle types of specialized corn from farm
fields in the U.S. Midwest for use in China, authorities said on
The woman, Mo Yun, is married to the founder and chairman of
a Chinese conglomerate that runs a corn seed subsidiary. She and
her brother, Mo Hailong, who also goes by the name Robert Mo,
worked together and with several others from China to steal the
valuable corn seed from Iowa and Illinois, according to law
Mo Yun was arrested Tuesday in Los Angeles, while Mo Hailong
was indicted and arrested in December. His trial is set for Dec.
1. Both are charged with conspiracy to steal trade secrets in
U.S. District Court in Iowa.
The conspirators dug up corn seedlings from fields and also
stole mature ears of corn and also unlawfully obtained packaged
corn seed, according to court documents.
At one point in 2012, Mo Hailong and other suspected
co-conspirators attempted to ship about 250 lbs (113 kg) of corn
seed via Federal Express to Hong Kong, according to prosecutors.
The plot also included hiding stolen corn seed in boxes of
microwave popcorn packed in luggage and checked on a flight from
Chicago to Beijing, China, court documents state.
Mo Hailong is director of the international business of the
Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Co, a part of DBN
Group, which is run by Shao Genhuo. DBN operates 67 different
subsidiaries, including a corn seed subsidiary called Beijing
Kings Nower Seed, according to Nicholas Klinefeldt, U.S.
Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa.
Mo Yun is married to Shao Genhuo, said Klinefeldt.
Other defendants include Li Shaoming, chief operating
officer of Beijing Kings Nower Seed; Wang Lei, vice chairman of
Beijing Kings Nower Seed; and Ye Jian, a research manager for
Beijing Kings Nower Seed, court documents show. Wang Hongwei, a
resident of Canada who was born in China, is also a defendant.
Both Iowa-based DuPont Pioneer, the agricultural unit of
DuPont, and Missouri-based Monsanto Co, two of
the world's largest agricultural seed companies, were victims of
the thefts and have said they are cooperating with federal
authorities in the ongoing probe.
The investigation began after DuPont Pioneer security staff
detected suspicious activity in fields where the company was
testing new types of seed, and notified authorities.
Both Monsanto and DuPont develop and sell genetically
altered seeds that are coveted by many farmers because they help
farmers fight insect and weed problems, and can yield more in
adverse growing conditions. But the seed technology is patented
and the seeds are higher priced than conventional seeds.
(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Editing by Jim Loney
and Lisa Shumaker)