U.S. agents have arrested Xu Yanjun – also known as Qu Hui and Zhang Hui, a top Beijing intelligence official for allegedly attempting to steal trade secrets from GE Aviation and other US aerospace companies after luring the suspect to Belgium in what the U.S. Justice Department called “an unprecedented extradition.”
Xu Yanjun was extradited to the United States on Tuesday with assistance from Belgian authorities for seeking “to steal trade secrets and other sensitive information from an American company that leads the way in aerospace,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said in a Justice Department announcement on Wednesday.
The announcement came as tensions escalate between Washington and Beijing over geopolitics, trade, hacking, and corporate espionage.
Justice officials cast the arrest of Xu as part of the global fight against China's alleged campaign to steal U.S. economic secrets. In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Joseph S. Campbell, director at Navigant Consulting, Inc. and former assistant director of the FBI’s criminal investigative division, said that Xu’s extradition was “a timely enforcement event in light of the new FIRRMA regulations related to [CFIUS], which will tighten up oversight of transactions between US and foreign companies, especially China, with review of a wider perspective on how business transactions could compromise sensitive US technologies, negatively impacting US national security.”
Read more of Joseph’s insights on this current event:
Employees who think they’re sharing unimportant information don’t realize that they’re adding to a broad matrix of knowledge. Even with unclassified information, China can put together a fuller picture of a company’s sensitive information.
Joseph S. Campbell
Director in the Global Investigations and Compliance Practice