Chinese national in US pleads guilty to stealing Monsanto secrets | Business and Economy

Xiang Haitao faces up to 15 years in prison for conspiring to commit economic espionage.

A Chinese national pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Missouri to conspiracy to steal trade secrets from agricultural company Monsanto for the benefit of the Chinese government, the US Department of Justice said.

Xiang Haitao, who was employed by Monsanto and a subsidiary from 2008 to 2017, has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit economic espionage and is expected to be sentenced on April 7, the ministry said. Justice in a press release. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Federal officials found Xiang in possession of copies of a proprietary predictive algorithm developed by Monsanto as he waited to board a flight to China in June 2017, the statement said.

He was allowed to travel to China, where he worked for the Institute of Soil Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the statement said. He was arrested on his return to the United States, the statement said.

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