Chinese intelligence officer convicted by a US jury for plotting to steal secrets from aviation companies, according to the US justice department.

Chinese intelligence officer convicted by a US jury for plotting to steal secrets from aviation companies, according to the US justice department.

Chinese intelligence officer
Chinese intelligence officer convicted by a US jury for plotting to steal secrets from aviation companies, according to the US justice department.—

Xu Yanjun was found guilty of five counts relating to economic espionage and trade secret theft.

He faces up to 60 years in prison and fines of more than $5m (£3.7m).

Xu was first arrested in Belgium in 2018 and is possibly the first Chinese operative to be extradited to the US for trial.

Chinese authorities have not commented publicly on Friday’s verdict. Beijing has previously dismissed the accusations, saying there was no basis to the charges.

According to a statement by the US justice department, Xu is a senior member of the Jiangsu branch of China’s Ministry of State Security – an agency responsible for counter-intelligence, foreign intelligence and internal security.

Xu was accused of targeting employees at several companies based in the US, among other countries since at least 2013.

In one instance, he arranged for a GE Aviation employee to travel to China in 2017 to give a presentation at a university – paying for their travel expenses and a stipend.

The following year, Xu asked the expert for “system specification, design process” information. With co-operation from the company – which was working with the FBI – the employee emailed Xu a two-page document labelled as having sensitive information.

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