A Chinese computer engineer working for Google in the United States has been arrested and charged with attempted theft of industrial secrets to the detriment of the internet giant, American Justice Minister Merrick Garland announced on Wednesday March 6. Linwei Ding, aka Leon Ding, 38, was arrested in Newark, California, the minister said in a statement.

“The Department of Justice will not tolerate the theft of artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies that could jeopardize our national security,” Mr. Garland was quoted as saying in the text. “We allege that the defendant stole trade secrets related to artificial intelligence from Google while secretly working for two companies based in China. We will vigorously protect sensitive technologies developed in America to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands,” he added.

According to the indictment, issued Tuesday and made public on Wednesday, Linwei Ding, hired by the American company in 2019, is being prosecuted for having clandestinely downloaded from May 2022 more than 500 files relating to Google searches in the field of artificial intelligence. “These indictments are the latest example of the lengths to which subordinates of companies based in the People’s Republic of China are willing to go to steal American inventions,” said the director of the American Federal Police (FBI), Christopher Wray, cited in the text.

The computer engineer is targeted by four counts of theft of industrial secrets, each punishable by a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a fine of $250,000, indicates the Ministry of Justice.