Sun, Mar 10, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Industrial espionage investigation turns to e-mail recipient

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Hsinchu District Prosec-utors' Office (新竹地檢署) said yesterday that it is trying to identify the person who received the e-mail messages suspected of containing classified information on 12-inch wafer-manufacturing technology sent by a former manager at Taiwan Semi-conductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電).

According investigators, Liu Yun-chien (劉芸茜), the former manager, sent out eleven e-mail messages containing classified chip technology to a senior officer at the Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際集成電路) in Shanghai and asked the officer to transfer this information to an unidentified person called "Michael" between November, 2000 and January last year.

Liu resigned from her position at the TSMC and was hired as a senior consultant at SMIC in February last year.

Prosecutors said they haven't figured out the identities of the senior officer at SMIC or "Michael."

SMIC is run by Taiwan's Ri-chard Chang (張汝京), who once headed a company that later merged with TSMC.

Chang denied that the company was involved in the case or took advantage of stolen secrets. He also said that SMIC will provide help during the investigation if necessary.

TSMC discovered that Liu was allegedly leaking classified information to another Chinese competitor, reported the case to the National Police Administration's Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB, 刑事局) in January last year, and officially filed a suit against Liu in June last year.

However, the company denied that the leaked information related to 12-inch wafer technology and claimed that it was just trying to protect its intellectual property by suing its former employee for stealing business secrets and trading them with another company.

The Hsinchu District Pros-ecutors' Office took over the case from the CIB and began to investigate the matter last Wednesday.

Prosecutors still did not officially confirm whether the leaked information concerned advanced 12-inch wafer technology.

In the meantime, prosecutors said they have sent out a summons to Liu's Hsinchu home.

Liu, however, returned to her Shanghai job immediately following the Lunar New Year holiday last month.

"CIB officers interviewed Liu before she left," said Lo Hsueh-mei (羅雪梅), the spokeswoman for the Hsinchu District Prosecutors' Office.

"However, that interview didn't really help clarify questions on the case. That was why we decided to summon her again."

The spokeswoman said that Liu will be put on the most wanted list if she fails to contact prosecutors or the police.

Under the law, a summoned person must report to police, prosecutors or judges by the specified date. If the summoned person is unable to physically show up, a lawyer will be able to represent that person, complete the legal process and ask for an excused absence from the prosecutors or judges.

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