Former US DuPont engineer to plead not guilty in TiO2 case

13 February 2012 22:17  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A former DuPont engineer plans to plead not guilty to allegations that he helped steal his former employer's technology to produce titanium dioxide (TiO2), his lawyer said on Monday.

Robert Maegerle also intends to go to trial, said his lawyer, Jerry Froelich.

Maegerle is among several businessmen and companies that the US accused of stealing DuPont's TiO2 trade secrets and giving them to a Chinese-state-controlled company.

Maegerle, a DuPont process engineer from 1956 to 1991, played a central role in the alleged plot, the US said.

Maegerle allegedly provided DuPont's chloride-route TiO2 technology to Walter Liew, a businessman based in California, the US alleged.

Liew then provided DuPont's technology to a Pangang Group subsidiary, which was developing a 100,000 tonne/year TiO2 plant in Chongqing in China, according to US accusations. Pangang is a Chinese-state-controlled company.

Liew, his wife and business partner Christina Liew, and Maegerle have all been charged with either conspiracy to commit espionage, conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets or both.

Maegerle is free on a $100,000 (€76,000) bond.

In addition, the US filed conspiracy charges against the Pangang Group, along with its subsidiaries Pangang Group Steel Vanadium and Titanium; Pangang Group Titanium Industry; and Pangang Group International Economic & Trading.

The Chinese Embassy did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Liew's lawyer, Thomas Nolan, did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.

However, Reuters quoted Nolan as saying that Liew possessed information that was available to the public. He did not posses trade secrets from DuPont.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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