It’s believed to be the first case of its kind in Iowa.
The U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Iowa says six Chinese nationals conspired to steal trade secrets from Dupont Pioneer and Monsanto, both U.S. seed corn companies.
Authorities have arrested one man and are seeking five other Chinese nationals believed to be involved in the conspiracy.
U.S. Attorney, Nick Klinefeldt says Mo Hailong, permanent resident in Florida who first came on a work visa, stole corn plants from test plots in Illinois and the Greater Des Moines area and attempted to transport valuable, inbred seed corn to China.
Klinefeldt says Hailong is employed as the Director of International Business of the Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Company, which is part of the DBN Group. DBN Group is believed to be a Chinese Conglomerate with a corn seed subsidiary company, Kings Nower Seed.
Dupont Pioneer alerted the FBI after detecting suspicious activity in its test plots.
If convicted, Hailong faces up to ten years in prison and a $5 million fine. The five other suspects have yet to apprehended.