China officials commented the espionage case, concerning Chinese-born engineer Dongfan "Greg" Chung. The court found him guilty of economic espionage for the People's Republic of China. The Chinese government claims that it was not involved in the man's criminal activities.
The Chinese Ministry for Foreign Affairs said in a brief statement that the allegations about a Chinese national stealing commercial secrets in the U.S. for China had been entirely fabricated.
Spokespeople for the ministry also claimed that China would give no other comments to the spy case. Meanwhile, the U.S. secret service insists that Chung was cooperating with the Chinese Intelligence, AFP reports.
The Chinese national was found guilty of stealing secret information related to NASA's space program. Chung is the first defendant who was convicted in accordance with the Economic Espionage Act, which became law in 1996. Five other cases have either been settled in plea bargains or are still pending.
Chung worked for Rockwell International Corp.’s till 1996. After the company was acquired by Boeing, he proceeded working as a Boeing employee. He retired from the company in 2002, but following the 2003 crash of Shuttle Columbia returned as a contractor.
As the man had been working for two companies for more than 30 years, he had access to a wide variety of secret documents. Dongfan Chung was convicted of six counts of economic espionage to China’s benefit.
Chung was convicted of stealing 300,000 pages of documents which contained the information about the U.S. space shuttles, rocket engines and the unique system aircraft fueling, the development of which cost Boeing $50 million.
The 73- year-old Chinese will be sentenced on November 9: he may face up to 90 years in prison.
The investigation committee managed to prove that Dongfan Chung had been dealing with the Chinese intelligence during his whole career in the American companies. Federal agents found secret documents at Chung’s house during a raid.
The U.S. law-enforcement authorities paid their attention to Chung in 2006 after the arrest of Chi Mak, a former L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. engineer who was sentenced last year to 24 years and 5 months in prison for trying to deliver military information to China.