(Reuters) – Taiwan's UMC has pleaded guilty to trade theft in the United States and will pay a $ 60 million fine in a case accused of helping a Chinese state-owned chipmaker steal secrets from Micron Technology Inc.  The fine is the second largest ever in a criminal trade secret indictment, said the US Department of Justice.
UMC, formally known as United Microelectronics Corp .; China Fujian Jinhua; and three individuals were charged in 2018 with conspiracy to steal trade secrets from Micron.
As part of the agreement, the DOJ will dismiss charges against the UMC including conspiracy to commit economic espionage, as well as a related civil case. UMC will also be subject to a three-year period without trial.
"UMC stole the trade secrets of a US computer memory leader to enable China to achieve a strategic priority: self-sufficiency in computer memory production without spending its own time or money to earn them," said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. The rose in a statement.
UMC said in a statement that its management was unaware of and did not approve of actions taken by three of its employees who had previously worked for Micron.
One of the employees enters trade secret information from Micron in an early draft of UMC's design rules for a DRAM project it worked on with Fujian Jinhua, it said.
UMC added that it never planned to and did not transfer Micron's trade secrets or any unauthorized information from third parties to Fujian Jinhua. The prosecution against the state-owned company is still unsolved.
Fujian has previously denied wrongdoing. Reuters could not reach a company representative by phone or fax on Thursday for comment.
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