U.S. charges Chinese energy company with industrial espionage

By Ben Lefebvre 10/29/2020 11:59 AM EDT

The Justice Department has charged a Chinese-owned oil and gas parts manufacturer with industrial espionage and stealing oil field technology trade secrets from a U.S. company.

Details: A grand jury indictment charged Jason Gao, his company Jason Energy Technologies and its U.S.- based affiliates, with conspiracy, theft of trade secrets and attempted theft of trade secrets. Gao is a Chinese citizen who until recently lived in Texas.

The company, led by Gao, allegedly used a U.S. consultant to help transfer trade secrets and proprietary manufacturing information from a pipe manufacturer to Jason Energy for several months at the end of 2019. The material, coiled piping, is used in onshore and deepwater oil and gas wells.

The phone number listed on the website of Gao’s U.S.-based affiliate Jason Oil & Gas Equipment LLC was disconnected as of Thursday.

What’s next: A warrant remains outstanding for Gao’s arrest. His companies, if found guilty, could be fined up to $5 million or three times the value of the stolen trade secret, whichever is greater. Gao could face up to 10 years in prison.

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