The former top manager of Samsung Electronics Co. accused of stealing blueprints and designs to try to recreate an entire semiconductor factory in China. This was announced by the Korean Prosecutor’s Office, writes Bloomberg.
The arrest of a 65-year-old man suspected of stealing trade secrets between 2018 and 2019 in order to build a chip manufacturing plant in Xi’an city with the support of capital from a Taiwanese company was reported. However, it was not possible to identify the latter.
At the same time, the prosecutor’s office did not say which company the attacker stole information from, but called it the largest manufacturer of memory chips in the world, which indirectly points to Samsung.
“It’s so serious that it’s difficult to compare it in terms of the scale of the crime and the degree of damage with previous individual semiconductor technology leakage cases,” the Suwon District Prosecutors Office in South Korea said in its statement.
The suspect in the case worked for Samsung for 18 years, and then another 10 years at an unnamed company. Potentially, the attacker could steal data from the Samsung company, and the damage from the theft could reach 300 billion won ($233 million). In addition to him, prosecutors also brought charges against six other persons.
This case is somewhat unique, as it is rare for anyone to attempt to recreate entire chip factories. Most cases involve attempts to appropriate certain designs or replicate software or components.
The situation has developed at a time when the battle for chips between the US and China continues. For example, recently the Chinese authorities announced a ban on the supply of the products of the American manufacturer of memory chips Micron to the objects of critical infrastructure.