Samsung worker accused of spying

2011-04-13 09:12

Seoul - A Chinese employee of South Korea's Samsung Electronics has been arrested for allegedly trying to leak confidential business information, a Seoul prosecutor said Wednesday.

The 40-year-old woman is suspected of photographing confidential documents about sales plans and key technologies and storing the image files in her personal laptop.

"Her contract was about to expire without extension when she downloaded all the files from the firm's computer server, printed them out and took photographs," Lee Cheon-Sei, a chief prosecutor in the case, told AFP.

The woman who was not identified had been working for Samsung's home appliance unit since 2007 and was recently offered a job with a Chinese electronics firm, Lee said without naming the company.

The confidential information included Samsung's key technologies on reducing noise of home appliances, details of products under development and sales plans for the next 10 years, he said.

"We don't think the confidential information has already been handed to another firm, but we are still investigating," said Lee.

The worker was arrested at the weekend after tipped-off prosecutors found evidence at her home during a raid.

The leaking of confidential business information to a foreign firm is punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

A spokesperson for Samsung Electronics, the world's largest maker of TVs and flat screen monitors, confirmed the investigation into the researcher and said she no longer worked for the firm.

South Korean prosecutors in recent years have investigated numerous claims of technology or business secrets being leaked to domestic or foreign rivals.

In February last year two people were charged with stealing trade secrets from Samsung Electronics and selling them to a Chinese home appliance company.