Xiaoqing Zheng, 56, of Niskayuna, New York, and Zhaoxi Zhang, 47, of Liaoning Province, China, has been charged with economic espionage and conspiring to steal General Electric’s (GE’s) trade secrets surrounding turbine technologies, knowing and intending that those stolen trade secrets would be used to benefit the People’s Republic of China.  Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Grant C. Jaquith for the Northern District of New York, Assistant Director John Brown of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division and Special Agent in Charge James N. Hendricks of the FBI’s Albany Field Office made the announcement.

The indictment says that Zheng, while employed at GE Power & Water in Schenectady, New York as an engineer specializing in sealing technology, exploited his access to GE’s files by stealing multiple electronic files, including proprietary files involving design models, engineering drawings, configuration files, and material specifications having to do with various components and testing systems associated with GE gas and steam turbines.  Zheng e-mailed and transferred many of the stolen GE files to his business partner, Chinese businessman Zhaoxi Zhang, who was located in China.  Zheng and Zhang used the stolen GE trade secrets to advance their own business interests in two Chinese companies – Liaoning Tianyi Aviation Technology Co., Ltd. (LTAT) and Nanjing Tianyi Avi Tech Co. Ltd. (NTAT), companies which research, develop, and manufacture parts for turbines.

The indictment also says Zheng and Zhang conspired to commit economic espionage, as the thefts of GE’s trade secrets surrounding various turbine technologies knowing and intending that the thefts would benefit the People’s Republic of China and one or more foreign instrumentalities, including LTAT, NTAT, Shenyang Aerospace University, Shenyang Aeroengine Research Institute, and Huaihai Institute of Technology.  The defendants, through LTAT and NTAT, received financial and other support from the Chinese government and coordinated with Chinese government officials to enter into research agreements with Chinese state-owned institutions to develop turbine technologies.