11/05/2012 02:41 pm ET

General Motors Trade Secrets Allegedly Stolen By Married Couple Yu Qin, Shanshan Du

There's one couple that may be the Bonnie and Clyde of the 21st century. And no, we're not talking about Jay-Z and Beyonce.

Yu Qin and Shanshan Du -- described by prosecutor Michael Martin as "Partners in life, partners in business and partners in crime" -- allegedly stole trade secrets from General Motors in order to sell them to a Chinese competitor, according to Bloomberg. The trial currently underway claims that Du, an engineer at General Motors in Detroit at the time, stole documents and provided them to her husband, Yu Qin, who used them to pursue business and employment opportunities with Chinese competitors.

This is only the latest China-related controversy for the auto company. Late last month, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney suggested that General Motors, along with Chrysler, was shipping American jobs to China, a view with which both companies took issue.

Over the past few years, the U.S. Labor Department has brought more than a dozen cases alleging defendants of Chinese ancestry have stolen trade secrets from U.S.-based companies, Bloomberg reports. For example, former Motorola employee, Hanjuan Jin was sentenced to four years in prison last August for stealing trade secrets.

More recently, the FBI contends that Coca-Cola may have been the victim of a cyber attack believed to have been launched by Chinese hackers relating its abandoned 2009 acquisition of Chinese beverage company China Huiyuan Juice Group, according to a separate Bloomberg report.

But corporate espionage is a mounting issue not limited to Chinese-American trade relations. British engineering company Dyson recently accused German competitor Bosch of implanting a spy to steal technology secrets, for example.



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