October 20, 2009 / 8:39 PM / 10 years ago

Engineer accused of thefts from Ford ordered held

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A judge on Tuesday denied bond to a former Ford Motor Co engineer charged with stealing trade secrets from the automaker and fleeing to his native China.

Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan told Xiang Dong Yu she would ask that his transfer to Detroit be expedited to face a grand jury indictment charging him with using Ford’s trade secrets to try to obtain work with Chinese automotive companies.

The indictment, handed up in July, was unsealed upon his arrest on October 14 at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

Yu’s Chinese passport was seized and his luggage was found to contain a computer hard drive similar to one he is accused of using to steal some 4,000 documents detailing Ford design systems, prosecutors said. His return ticket to China was dated October 21.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Senoo told the judge that Yu, who sat nervously at a table in a jail-issued orange jumpsuit, still had possession of the Ford documents and had a strong incentive to flee the country because he faces at least an eight-year prison term and other penalties.

Yu had sought his release on bond, with his lawyer offering the court a list of contributors willing to put up $50,000 for bond and a Detroit pastor who would house Yu in an apartment while he awaits trial. Yu complained through his lawyer that he was unable to access his assets in China while in jail.

But Judge Nolan said that was not nearly enough assurance to grant him bond and Yu would have to present his case before a judge in Michigan. The judge said she would request his transfer be expedited, but it could take a week or longer.

Reporting by Andrew Stern; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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