Theft of Trade Secrets of Inbred Corn Seeds to China
On Jan. 27, 2016, Mo Hailong, aka Robert Mo, 46, pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Iowa to conspiracy to steal trade secrets. According to the plea agreement, Hailong admitted to participating in a long-term conspiracy to steal trade secrets from DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto. Hailong further admitted to participating in the theft of inbred – or parent – corn seeds from fields in the Southern District of Iowa for the purpose of transporting those seeds to China. The stolen inbred seeds constitute the valuable intellectual property of DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto. During the conspiracy, Hailong was employed as director of international business of the Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Company, a Chinese conglomerate with a corn seed subsidiary company, Kings Nower Seed. Hailong is a Chinese national who became a lawful permanent resident of the United States pursuant to an H-1B visa. The remaining codefendants include Li Shaoming, Wang Lei, Wang Hong Wei, Ye Jian, Lin Yong, and Mo Yun. The investigation was initiated when DuPont Pioneer security staff detected suspicious activity and alerted the FBI. DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto have fully cooperated throughout the investigation. The case is being investigated by the FBI.