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HTC One

HTC Executive Charged with Leaking Company Secrets

A senior executive at HTC Corp. and five other employees has been charged with leaking company secrets and fraudulent expense claims. Taiwan prosecutors indict a former HTC Corp. executive for allegedly leaking company secrets and five other employees for falsifying expenses, and taking kickbacks, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Thomas Chien, HTC’s vice president of product design, is alleged to have leaked upcoming smartphone interface designs to a partner who he planned to start a new business with. Apart from this, the five HTC employees and Chien has reportedly also been charged for collectively receiving around 33.57 million New Taiwan dollars (US$1.12 million) by falsifying expenses and receiving kickbacks from suppliers.

Chien and the other HTC employees were first arrested in August under suspicion of fraudulent expense claims, as well as stealing trade secrets ahead of leaving the company to run a new mobile design firm in both Taiwan and mainland China. Engadget’s Richard Lai cites several Chinese sources as reporting that HTC “caught Chien secretly downloading files related to the upcoming Sense 6.0 UI design” and sharing the data with external contacts via email. HTC’s R&D director, Bill Wu, and design team senior manager, Justin Huang (who also personally sketched out the HTC One’s design), were reported to be among the other five facing charges at the time of the initial report.

HTC, on a media statement had this to say,

“The company expects employees to observe and practice the highest levels of integrity and ethics. Protecting the company’s proprietary and intellectual properties, privacy and security is a core fundamental responsibility of every employee. The company does not compromise nor condone any violation at any level of our organization and the company shall act in accordance to the law. As this matter is currently under investigation by the relevant authorities, we therefore refrain from further comments.

In addition, the company has sufficient resources in our design team and this situation will not impact the company’s operations, product portfolio plans and our overall business performance.”

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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