The FBI has impugned an auto engineer at Apple for allegedly stealing trade secrets for a rival company based in China.


Jizhong Chen, who was hired in June 2018, is the second Chinese employee to face the same accusation in six months, according to NBC Bay Area.

In July 2018, former Apple employee Xiaolang Zhang was accused of trying to leak Apple’s trade secrets to China-based XMotors and was arrested by federal agents.

Chen was given “secrecy training” in how to avoid leaking information, even to family members, and was one of about 1,200 “core” employees with access to the building where the project was centered.

It is said that Chen signed a strict oath of confidentiality at the time of hiring.

In December, Apple notified Chen that his job performance needed to improve. The following month, a co-worker noticed that Chen was taking pictures of the self-driving car project and alerted the superiors.

An internal investigation determined that Chen had taken photos of the stealthy project and backed up his Apple work computer on a personal machine, along with more than 2,000 files, including plans, guidebooks and diagrams.

Chen told Apple that he moved these document from his work computer to a private computer as an “insurance policy” for job prospects in case his Apple performance improvement plan ended with termination, Apple claimed that the confidential information was found ahead of his placement like some photos date from June.

Chen was suspended from his job as a result of Apple’s internal investigation, the results of which were shared with the FBI.

According to the FBI, another Apple employee denounced Chen after seeing him take “wide-angle photographs” of the so-called “Titan Project” on January 11, thinking he was “suspicious.”

Some 100 photos taken inside the building that housed Apple’s secret car driving project were reportedly found on Chen’s personal device.

Soon, the company learned that he had applied for two external jobs, one of which was in a rival company in China.

Chen then told Apple that he planned to visit his sick father in China. However, he was taken under arrest just before he could board his flight to china, Bloomberg reported.

The employee, who has since been suspended without pay, was released on January 25 after publishing $ 500,000 in cash and property.

Chen’s case comes to light just after the United States accused Huawei of allegedly stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile.

For a long time, the United States suspected and often accused the Chinese government of encouraging the theft of trade secrets as a way to build its own industries, The Verge said.

Earlier last week, Apple expelled more than 200 employees of its electric car project to different parts of the company.