'Wanted' posters issued for five people suspected in seed corn espionage case

Authorities say men may have exported valuable research to Chinese firms

Federal authorities have issued wanted posters for five people believed to have been involved in an international industrial espionage conspiracy that allegedly attempted to transport “inbred” seed corn from two U.S. companies and export the potentially valuable research to a Chinese-based company.

Nicholas Klinefeldt, U.S. attorney for Iowa’s southern judicial district, and Thomas Metz, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Omaha division, said the 2 ½-year probe has netted the arrest of a Chinese national living in Florida, but four other alleged co-conspirators reside in China and one in Canada with dual citizenship.

From about April 2011 to about December 2012, Ye Jian, Li Shaoming, Lin Yong, Wang Hongwei, and Wang Lei allegedly conspired to steal the intellectual property of several United States-based seed manufacturing companies and transport the intellectual property to the People’s Republic of China, according to federal authorities. The individuals have been charged with conspiracy to steal trade secrets and federal warrants have been issued for their arrest in the U.S. District Court in southern Iowa.

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