Court condemns former Coca-Cola employee for trafficking in sensitive data – 05/09/2022

Chinese chemical engineer Xiaorong Shannon you59, was sentenced to 14 years in prison in the US, accused of having participated in a scheme to steal trade secrets about materials used in soda cans to benefit the Chinese government.

According to the US Department of Justice, the sentence was handed down today by a federal judge in Greeneville, Tennessee, after a jury convicted her last month on charges including possession of stolen trade secrets and economic espionage.

Prosecutors in the case said You accessed secrets about beverage can linings while working at Coca-Cola in Atlanta and Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tennessee.

According to them, trade secrets cost major chemical and coating companies nearly $120 million to develop.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim that You stole trade secrets to establish a BPA-free coating company in China, and its Chinese partner, Weihai Jinhong Group, received millions of dollars in grants from the Chinese government to support the new company.

Prosecutors pointed to evidence at the trial to say that You also intended to benefit the governments of China, the Chinese province of Shandong, the Chinese city of Weihai and the Chinese Communist Party.

The engineer worked at Coca-Cola from December 2012 to August 2017 and was a packaging application development manager at Eastman Chemical from September 2017 to June 2018.

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