On Friday six employees including Thomas Chien, VP of product design of HTC were indicted on accusations of breach of trust and leaking trade secrets.
False expense claims of NT$33 million (US$1.1 million) made by HTC design executives along with three material suppliers were also charged. According to the indictment, Chien who had been detained from Aug 31 was accused of stealing and leaking icon designs to Chinese partners in June. These designs were meant for HTC’s yet-to-be released smartphone.
Taipei Prosecutors Office in the indictment said that Chien has violated Article 13 of Trade Secrets Act that bans stealing or unauthorized reproduction, revelation and misuse of key corporate business secrets.
Chein had also conspired with Wu Chein-hung, HTC’s research and development director for creating losses of NT$33.566 million (US$1.1 million) by using fake invoices for demanding rebates from HTC’s suppliers and by increasing expenses.
The indictment added that Chien and Wu had started another firm and tried to lure HTC employees to their firm in a breach of trust. With Chien putting up agreements to justify his actions and his remorselessness during the investigation has promoted the prosecutors to seek maximum penalty.
The other three employees were sought less penalty as prosecutors said they had showed remorse and cooperated during the investigation.
Senoir managers of design and innovation, Justin Huang, Huang Hung with Hung Chung-yi, a manager in manufacturing design department and Chen Shih-tsou were the the four executives who were indicted. Chang Chun-yi, Chang Jung-yuan and Chen Chung-kui were the HTC suppliers.
Under the law leaking trade secrets can land up a person for 10 years in prison and a fine of NT$1-10 million. Breach of trust can add another prison sentence of 10 years under the Securities and Exchange Act. On Dec. 27 Chien was released on bail.