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Avery Dennison update on espionage trial

10 June 1999: An employee of adhesives manufacturer Avery Dennison has been at the centre of the first criminal trial to be held under the US 1996 Economic Espionage Act. Ten Hong “Victor” Lee, a rese…

10 June 1999: An employee of adhesives manufacturer Avery Dennison has been at the centre of the first criminal trial to be held under the US 1996 Economic Espionage Act. Ten Hong “Victor” Lee, a researcher from the company“s Ohio operation, has admitted to supplying a rival company with confidential reports about adhesives used in stamps, tape and battery labels. A court in Youngstown, Ohio, convicted Pin Yen Yang, 72, the president of Taiwanese adhesives maker Four Pillars Enterprise and his daughter Hwei Chen Yang of two counts of economic espionage (see GlassOnline report of 6 May 1999). Prosecutors said the two had paid Lee about US$ 160,000 over an eight-year period for the reports, which had lost Avery Dennison as much as US$ 200 million. Lee, a Taiwanese national, met the Yangs on a trip to his homeland in 1989. He worked with them until he was caught in 1997, when he pleaded guilty to wire fraud and agreed to co-operate with the FBI. The case hinged on secretly filmed FBI videotape showing a meeting between the three in 1997 when Hwei Chen Yang cut the “confidential” stamp from an Avery Dennison report. The Yangs could face up to ten years in prison and a substantial fine. Avery Dennison“s president and chief executive Philip Neal said he was “extremely pleased” with the verdict. However, defence attorneys have called the prosecution a “gross misapplication” of the Economic Espionage Act, which was designed to keep high-tech secrets out of the hands of foreign governments.

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