Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Chinese firm paid insider 'to kill my company,' American CEO says


By Carl Sears and Michael Isikoff
NBC News
Aug. 6, 2013

A Chinese energy firm offered big money and access to women to entice an engineer at a U.S. company to launch a cyber raid on his employer, stealing sensitive computer codes and “thereby cheating (the firm) … out of more than $800 million,” according to newly unsealed court documents and internal messages and emails obtained by NBC News.

Federal prosecutors call the alleged cyber theft from American Superconductor (AMSC) in Devens, Mass., one of the most brazen cases yet of Chinese economic espionage in the United States. The techniques the Chinese used to rob the company of three quarters of its revenue, half its workforce, and more than $1 billion in market value were straight out of a “spy novel,” the firm's CEO said in an interview with NBC News.


The Chinese firm enticed Karabesic to download American Superconductor’s encrypted source codes onto a thumb drive and then send them by email to Sinovel executives in China, according to prosecutors. As inducements, the emails and Skype messages show, it offered Karabasevic a $1.7 million contract, an apartment in Beijing and access to women -- as well as payments wired into the bank account of a girlfriend who was a Vietnamese flight attendant.

"All girls need money. I need girls. Sinovel needs me," read one of Karabasevic’s messages to a Sinovel executive in China.


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