Second defendant arrested in case alleging theft of trade secrets from American aviation company
Indictment unsealed today charges Russian and Italian nationals
CINCINNATI – An Italian national was arrested in Marino, Italy on Oct. 2 pursuant to a provisional arrest request from the United States in a case involving two defendants charged here with conspiring to steal trade secrets from an American aviation company.
Alexander Yuryevich Korshunov, 57, and Maurizio Paolo Bianchi, 59, were charged by a criminal complaint on Aug. 21. Korshunov was arrested on Aug. 30 at Naples International Airport in Italy. A federal grand jury in Cincinnati indicted the pair on Sept. 11 with conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets and attempted theft of trade secrets, and that indictment was unsealed today.
According to the indictment, Korshunov was an employee of a Russian state-owned company and had previously been a Russian public official whose service included the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Bianchi was a former director at Avio S.p.A, an Italian aerospace company until 2012. GE Aviation purchased the aerospace business from Avio S.p.A. in 2013 and operates the business as Avio Aero with its headquarters in Turin, Italy. GE Aviation is one of the world’s top aircraft engine suppliers and is headquartered in the Southern District of Ohio.
After leaving Avio S.p.A., Bianchi went to work for a company called Aernova in Forli, Italy.
Korshunov was employed at United Engine Corp (UEC), which included a subsidiary named Aviadvigatel (a branch of the Russian state-owned company), which had been “entity listed” by the U.S. Department of Commerce in September 2018 for acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.
Aernova and Aviadvigatel had a contract during the time of the alleged conduct.
It is alleged that between 2013 and 2018, Bianchi – on behalf of Korshunov – recruited current or former employees of Avio Aero to do consulting work related to jet engine accessory gearboxes for Bianchi and Korshunov. An accessory gearbox is a component mechanism used to transfer the power from the jet engine to other airplane power systems.
According to court documents, the employees’ statements of work typically stated that the “the holders of patent and intellectual property obtained as a result of the work are…the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.”
Employees allegedly used trade secrets owned by Avio Aero and GE Aviation to create the technical report. The effort focused on accessory gearboxes made by Avio Aero that provide power to systems such as hydraulic pumps, generators and fuel pumps.
Court documents detail that Korshunov allegedly arranged and paid for employees to meet with him in June 2013 at the Paris Air Show in Le-Bourget, France and in 2014 in Milan, Italy to discuss and revise the technical report.
Conspiring to steal trade secrets and attempted theft of trade secrets are punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Benjamin C. Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI and the cooperation of GE Aviation, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy S. Mangan and Trial Attorney Will Mackie of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, who are prosecuting the case. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs of the Department’s Criminal Division assisted in the investigation.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
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