Chinese government at center of GE Aviation espionage case

In 2018, Yanjun Xu and one more guy who prosecutors say was a Chinese spy

In 2018, Yanjun Xu and one more guy who prosecutors say was a Chinese spy traveled 8,000 miles from China to Belgium to satisfy with an engineer for GE Aviation.

Xu and the other accused intelligence officer, a federal prosecutor explained Tuesday in opening statements in Xu’s demo, believed the GE Aviation engineer was bringing a hard drive made up of confidential information about commercial jet engines.

The alleged espionage was aspect of a Chinese authorities plan to steal trade strategies from aviation providers, Assistant U.S. Legal professional Emily Glatfelter informed jurors. She explained China required to construct its have jet motor modeled immediately after GE Aviation’s, which she known as the most prosperous in the earth.

China relies on spies, she explained, “to steal what they can’t develop on their own.”

When FBI agents and Belgian authorities arrested Xu and the other accused spy, the two experienced numerous cellphones, pictures of the engineer and his family and 1000’s of dollars in U.S. currency wrapped in brown envelopes, Glatfelter reported. Xu also experienced been utilizing an alias, she claimed.

Info on at the very least a single of the telephones, she reported, was erased remotely immediately after regulation enforcement confiscated it. That confirmed Chinese intelligence was involved, she said.

The GE Aviation engineer was not charged. For various months, he had been cooperating with the FBI. Glatfelter mentioned agents made use of his email and messaging apps to connect with Xu and other people.

Glatfelter said Xu, 41, was a deputy division director for the Ministry of Condition Security, China’s intelligence agency. Beginning in late-2013, she explained he labored with other intelligence officers to acquire trade secrets from aviation businesses. Among the them: Honeywell Aerospace and Safran, a French organization that can make plane engines.