Two Chinese citizens were charged in Kansas City, Missouri, with trying to buy trade secrets stolen from Pittsburgh Corning Corp. so they could open a competing plant in China.
Ji Li Huang, 45, and Xiao Guang Qi, 31, attempted to buy what they were told were documents revealing Pittsburgh Corning’s processes for making cellular-glass insulation, U.S. prosecutors in Kansas City said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.
The two brought $25,000 to a Sept. 2 meeting in Kansas City with an individual who was cooperating with federal agents, and were shown documents purported to be company trade secrets, prosecutors said. Both were arrested at their hotel afterward, appeared in court yesterday and remained in federal custody pending a detention hearing, prosecutors said.
Pittsburgh Corning, an affiliate of PPG Industries Inc. and Corning Inc., manufactures Foamglas cellular glass used by energy and petrochemical companies to insulate piping systems and storage-tank bases. The company announced plans three months ago to open a plant in China, prosecutors said.
Huang and an uncharged co-conspirator allegedly trespassed in June at the company’s flagship plant in Sedalia, Missouri.
Attorneys for Huang and Qi weren’t disclosed in court filings. Matt Dobransky, a spokesman for Pittsburgh-based Pittsburgh Corning, didn’t immediately answer a voice-mail message seeking comment on the charges left after regular business hours.
The case is U.S. v Huang, 12-156, U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri (Kansas City).