William J. Edwards, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, today announced that an Indictment was filed charging Sang Ho Shin, Dong Sik Kim, and Yeon Hee Lee with one count of trade secrets conspiracy, and two counts each of theft of trade secrets.
Sang Ho Shin, Dong Sik Kim and Yeon Hee Lee are residents and nationals of South Korea and were employed as executives of SK Chemicals, a multinational chemical company located in Seoul, South Korea.
The Indictment charges that from in or about late 2001 through in or about January 2008, Shin, Kim and Lee, conspired with Kyung J. Kim to steal and receive trade secrets belonging to the Lubrizol Corporation, a competitor based in Wickliffe, Ohio.
The Indictment charges that they would meet with Kyung J. Kim, a Senior Research and Development Associate at Lubrizol to gather information on trade secrets regarding Thermoplastic Polyurethane and other confidential Lubrizol technology; this included Non-Halogen Flame Retardant Technology (NHFR) sold under the Estane® trade name and static control technology sold under the Stat-Rite® trade name.
The Indictment alleges that Kyung J. Kim downloaded trade secrets onto an external storage device in preparation for meetings with Kim and Lee and further alleges that Kyung J. Kim communicated trade secrets and other confidential Lubrizol technology by way of handwritten facsimiles sent from his home to Sang Ho Shin.
The Indictment states that the defendants met with Kyung J. Kim at hotels and condominiums at various sites including Tucson, Arizona, Niagara Falls, Canada, and Suwon, South Korea. These meetings occurred on at least 17 occasions and would last for several days. At these meetings, Kyung J. Kim explained the trade secrets and other confidential Lubrizol technology to Sang Ho Shin, Dong Sik Kim and Yeon Hee Lee.
The Indictment alleges that the defendants provided Kim with envelopes of $10,000 in cash (usually in denominations of $100 bills) at each meeting in exchange for the trade secrets and other confidential Lubrizol technology. They also reimbursed all of Kim’s travel expenses (usually $1100).
Kyung J. Kim pleaded guilty to an indictment charging one count of theft of trade secrets conspiracy and two counts of theft of trade secrets on April 8, 2008, in Case No. 1:08CR139 before the Honorable Solomon Oliver, Jr.