July 2, 2014

Chinese National Arrested for Conspiring to Steal Trade Secrets

DES MOINES, IA—United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt announced today the arrest and indictment of Mo Yun, for conspiracy to steal trade secrets. Mo Hailong was previously arrested in December of 2013. The Superseding Indictment alleges that from on or about January of 2007, to on or about December of 2012, Mo Hailong, Mo Yun, and other individuals conspired to steal the trade secrets of several U.S. based seed manufacturing companies, and transport those trade secrets to China for the benefit of their China-based seed company.

Mo Yun is a Chinese national who was employed by Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Company (DBN) from August 2001 to March 2009. DBN is believed to be a Chinese conglomerate with a corn seed subsidiary company, Kings Nower Seed. Born in 1972, Mo Yun was in charge of DBN’s research project management. Yun is the sister of Mo Hailong and the spouse of DBN founder and current chairman Dr. Shao Genhuo.

During the course of the conspiracy, Mo Yun, Mo Hailong and others are alleged to have conspired to steal valuable inbred corn seed from production fields in Iowa and Illinois. This “inbred” or “parent” line of seed constitutes valuable intellectual property of a seed producer. After stealing the inbred corn seed, conspirators attempted to covertly transfer the inbred corn seed to China.

The investigation was initiated when DuPont Pioneer security staff detected suspicious activity, and alerted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto and their staff have been fully cooperative throughout the investigation, which is being led by the FBI.

“The FBI’s investigation into Mo Yun should not go unnoticed by those who seek to steal trade secrets and private business information,” said Thomas R. Metz, Special Agent in Charge of the Omaha Division of the FBI. “Identifying and deterring those focused on stealing trade secrets, propriety and confidential information or national security information is the number two priority for the FBI second only to terrorism.”

In accordance with the Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct, the public is reminded that a criminal indictment constitutes facts supporting probable cause, and that the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.