Justice News

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Criminal Division Delivers Remarks Regarding Chinese Economic Espionage
Washington, DC
United States
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Thank you, John.  The Criminal Division fully supports the Attorney General’s initiative to counter Chinese economic aggression.  Every day, the Chinese engage in efforts to steal American trade secrets and commit other illegal acts intended to enrich their economy at the expense of American businesses. 

These acts are not only carried out by the Chinese government and its agents.  They also are carried out through companies and individuals who commit crimes here and abroad.  American citizens and businesses suffer as a result.

To counter these efforts and complement the work of the National Security Division, prosecutors in the Criminal Division work collaboratively every day with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices (USAOs) around the country to bring charges against Chinese companies and individuals for the theft of trade secrets.  Today, we are announcing a commitment to redouble our efforts.

We see it time and again: Chinese actors have stolen wind turbine technology in Wisconsin, agricultural research in Kansas, cancer drug research in Pennsylvania, and software source code in New York.  Wherever we see examples of this kind of criminal behavior, the Department will investigate it and prosecute it to the fullest extent possible.  We also will continue to work hard to ensure that offenders face justice in U.S. courts. 

Our Office of International Affairs is the focal point for all extraditions around the globe.  In just the past few years, the Department has successfully extradited nine Chinese individuals, including two for theft of trade secrets.  Long prison terms for these offenders help to create much-needed deterrence.

The Chinese government has also shielded its banks from our lawful requests for evidence.  This policy has resulted in rampant money laundering of criminal proceeds.  The Chinese financial system should not be a safe haven for criminal enterprises.  And Chinese banks should not have an unfair advantage over American ones.

We know that Chinese companies and individuals also have bribed government officials in other countries in order to win contracts.  The Criminal Division is committed to fully enforcing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  Bringing these offenders to justice will help create a level playing field for American companies in foreign markets.

In sum:  the Criminal Division is committed to bringing every necessary resource to bear in support of this effort.  We are proud to be part of this initiative with our partners in NSD, USAOs across the country, and federal law enforcement, and will work hard to do our part to assure fairness in the global economic system.

Intellectual Property
Updated November 1, 2018