Taiwan arrests engineers suspected of leaking BASF tech to China

The six current and former BASF SE engineers are accused of accepting bribes and sharing the German company's technology with Jiangyin Jianghua Microelectronics Materials Co.
The six current and former BASF SE engineers are accused of accepting bribes and sharing the German company's technology with Jiangyin Jianghua Microelectronics Materials Co.PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI (BLOOMBERG) - Taiwan arrested six current and former BASF SE engineers accused of accepting bribes and sharing the German company's technology with Jiangyin Jianghua Microelectronics Materials Co, in one of the more elaborate cases involving alleged Chinese intellectual property theft.

Jianghua offered them 40 million yuan (S$7.92 million) in return for help building a new factory in the eastern province of Jiangsu, Criminal Investigation Bureau official Lu Sung-hao told reporters at a briefing on Monday (Jan 7).

The mainland company had already wired NT$40 million (S$1.76 million) to two accounts in Samoa controlled by the group, he added.

American and Taiwanese officials have long accused Chinese companies of purloining intellectual property in a quest to climb the technology ladder, something Beijing's consistently denied.

Such leaks, which American officials say include the forced transfer of technology, are a key complaint of Washington's as the world's two largest economies open talks to try and avert a damaging trade war.

The amount involved in the case is unusually large.

Taiwanese officials have in the past accused mainland corporations of appropriating valuable trade secrets by poaching talent, but Mr Lu said Jianghua offered direct payment in return for proprietary technology.

Calls to Jianghua's main line and an e-mail to a corporate address went unanswered.