Biden Team to Counter Tech Espionage Unveils Cases Involving China and Russia
A new division set up by the government to pursue sanctions evasion and technology espionage announced arrests of individuals with ties to foreign governments.
The Biden administration announced arrests and criminal charges on Tuesday in five cases involving sanctions evasion and technology espionage efforts linked to Russia, China and Iran.
Federal agents are working to trace the global movement of U.S. goods and data, as well as the funds used to pay for them. The effort seeks to crack down on the global networks that are channeling goods and technology through opaque jurisdictions and middlemen to try to circumvent sanctions and technology restrictions imposed by the United States.
In another case unveiled Tuesday, a California-based engineer is accused of trying to steal source code for advanced machinery that can be used to make parts for military submarines and aircraft to sell it to several Chinese companies.
Two other cases were announced, including charges against China-based agents who were accused of attempting to send materials used in weapons of mass destruction to Iran, according to U.S. officials, and charges involving the alleged provision of advanced technology to Russia that could be repurposed by the Russian military.
Matthew G. Olsen, the assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s national security division, told reporters that the cases showed the U.S. government’s ability “to accelerate investigations and surge our collective resources to defend against these threats.”
“Foreign nation states are working hard to acquire our most sensitive technologies,” said Matthew Axelrod, the assistant secretary for export enforcement at the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security. “We’re working even harder to stop them.”
The Commerce Department issued a temporary denial order Tuesday against the men, which prohibits them from transactions involving any U.S. products for 180 days.
The order also applies to a freight forwarder in the Maldives that the men had utilized to route shipments of prohibited products into Russia, as well as a Russian airline, Smartavia, that sought to purchase these products.
On Thursday, federal officials seized luxury goods purchased with proceeds of their scheme, a U.S. official said.
Source: NYTimes Technology