First Chinese spy extradited to US convicted of trying to steal aviation trade secrets

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A Chinese spy has been convicted of plotting to steal trade secrets from several US aviation and aerospace companies, the Justice Department has said.

Yanjun Xu is the first Chinese operative extradited to the US to stand trial.

He has been convicted of two counts of conspiring and attempting to commit economic espionage, in addition to a count of conspiracy to commit trade secret theft and two counts of attempted theft of trade secrets.

The ruling means the Chinese Ministry of State Security spy could face up to 60 years in prison and fines of more than $5m (£3.7m), according to the Justice Department.

He will be sentenced later by a federal district court judge.

FBI Assistant Director Alan Kohler Jr said the bureau was working with dozens of US agencies to share
information and resources to combat espionage operations carried out by the People's Republic of China (PRC).

"For those who doubt the real goals of the PRC, this should be a wakeup call; they are stealing American technology to benefit their economy and military," he said.

Yanjun was accused of using multiple aliases as far back as 2013 to conduct economic espionage and steal trade secrets on behalf of Beijing.

He was arrested in Belgium in April 2018 and was extradited to the US six months later.

Yanjun targeted several US aviation and aerospace companies, including GE Aviation, a unit of General Electric Co, the Justice Department said.

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