Tech giant Apple told a federal court on Monday that the company has “deep concerns’ that two former employees, both Chinese-born, will try to flee the country after being accused of stealing trade secrets.
Prosecutors at a hearing in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, argued that Xiaolang Zhang and Jizhong Chen, should both be monitored as they present flight risks.
According to Federal prosecutors, Zhang worked on Apple’s secretive self-driving car program and took files related to the project before disclosing that he was going to work for a Chinese competitor. Zhang was arrested at the San Jose airport last year as he was about to board a flight for China.
Prosecutors claim that Chen took from Apple more than 2,000 files containing “manuals, schematics, diagrams and photographs of computer screens showing pages in Apple’s secure databases” with intent to share them. Chen was arrested in January at a train station on his way to San Francisco International Airport for a trip to China.
The attorney representing both men, Daniel Olmos, said they had family reasons for wanting to visit China.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marissa Harris has said that if either man fled to China, it would be difficult if not impossible for federal officials to secure their extradition for a trial.
Apple’s statement to U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila in San Jose, California reads: Apple’s intellectual property is at the core of our innovation and growht. The defendants’ continued participation in these proceedings is necessary to ensure a final determination of the facts, and we have deep concerns the defendants will not see this through if given the opportunity.
“This is not an espionage case,” Olmos defended. The government “is not requesting detention, but they are requesting essentially indefinitely location monitoring.”
Disclaimer: We have no position in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and have not been compensated for this article.