US accuses two people of stealing Tesla trade secrets


A Canadian man living in China was arrested Tuesday and held in New York as he and a business partner were accused of trying to sell secret battery manufacturing technology belonging to Tesla.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn asked a judge to hold Klaus Pflugbiel without bail on charges of theft of trade secrets. He was arrested Tuesday after meeting with undercover agents on Long Island and trying to sell them technology used to make battery parts, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York said in a statement.

The second man, 47-year-old Chinese national Yilong Shao, is still at large, prosecutors said. A public defender representing Mr. Pflugbiel, 58, did not respond to requests for comment late Tuesday.

Court documents identified the company whose secrets were stolen only as “a US-based leading manufacturer of battery-powered electric vehicles and battery energy systems.” That description and others in court documents match Tesla's.

Mr. Pflugbiel and Mr. Shao are both former employees of Hiber Systems, a Canadian company that sold technology for battery manufacturing that Tesla acquired in 2019. According to prosecutors, he had access to drawings and other documents that allowed others to copy the manufacturing process. ,

According to court documents, after the sale of Hibar, the people formed a company that tried to sell the firm's technology through ads on Google, posts on LinkedIn and a YouTube video. They knew the technology was proprietary, prosecutors said.

Undercover agents met Mr. Shao at a trade show in Las Vegas in September and expressed interest in purchasing the information, which Tesla had confirmed was secret. The agents persuaded Mr. Pflugbiel to come to New York by telling him that they wanted to make a deal.

The arrest shows that the government will “prosecute those who engage in the theft of trade secrets that put American businesses at a competitive disadvantage, undermine innovation and pose potential national security risks,” the Eastern District of New York said. US Attorney Breonna Peace said. , said in a statement.


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