The investigation into the theft of trade secrets in the corn industry has expanded after five more people were indicted.
Mo Hailong, a Chinese national who was living in Florida, was arrested Thursday, December 12, 2013.
U.S. Attorney Nicholas Klinefeldt said the arrest was connected to a conspiracy to steal inbred seed corn from Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer production fields in Iowa and Illinois.
“After stealing the inbred corn seed, the conspirators attempted to covertly transfer the inbred corn seed to China,” Klinefeldt said.
A week later, Klinefeldt announced a total of six Chinese nationals, including Mo Hailong, were indicted in connection with the conspiracy.
“The indictment alleges that from on or about April of 2011, to on or about December of 2012, Mo Hailong, Li Shaoming, Wang Lei, Wang Hongwei, Ye Jian and Lin Yong conspired to steal the trade secrets of several U.S. based seed manufacturing companies, and transport those trade secrets to China for the benefit of their China-based seed company,” Klinefeldt said on December 19.
All of the indicted people are reportedly employees of Beijing Kings Nower Seed S&T Co., Ltd.
Klinefeldt said the loss of an inbred line of seed would cost the victim companies fire to eight years of research at a minimum of $30- to $40-million.