Avi­a­tion spy­ing sus­pect pleads in­no­cent

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

COLUM­BUS, Ohio — A Chi­nese na­tional pleaded in­no­cent Fri­day to charges of eco­nomic es­pi­onage and try­ing to steal trade se­crets from mul­ti­ple U.S. avi­a­tion and aero­space com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing GE Avi­a­tion.

The gov­ern­ment al­leges that be­gin­ning in De­cem­ber 2013, de­fen­dant Yan­jun Xu re­cruited ex­perts who worked at avi­a­tion com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing GE Avi­a­tion in Cincin­nati. They say Xu and oth­ers would pay stipends for the ex­perts to travel to China un­der the guise of de­liv­er­ing a univer­sity pre­sen­ta­tion.

Court pa­pers say Xu and other op­er­a­tives dis­cussed how they would ob­tain “highly sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion” from the ex­perts.

On Fri­day, Xu was or­dered by a mag­is­trate judge to be de­tained be­fore trial over the ob­jec­tions of Xu’s at­tor­neys, who say he’s not at risk of flee­ing. And, a day ear­lier, U.S. Dis­trict Judge Ti­mothy Black ap­pointed a clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer to han­dle sen­si­tive data dur­ing pro­ceed­ings.

“Xu has no crim­i­nal his­tory, has been charged with non-vi­o­lent, non-drug-re­lated of­fenses and is not in pos­ses­sion of any con­fi­den­tial trade se­cret in­for­ma­tion that could now be dis­closed,” his at­tor­ney, Jeanne Cors, said in a court fil­ing Fri­day.

Xu was de­tained by the gov­ern­ment in Bel­gium where he spent the past six months be­fore ex­tra­di­tion to the United States, Cors said in the fil­ing. His wife and 10-year-old son ob­tained visas and are re­lo­cat­ing to the U.S. to be with him dur­ing the trial, the fil­ing said.

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