Taiwan's UMC has pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets in the United States and will pay a $ 60 million fine. The company is accused of helping a Chinese state-owned chip maker by stealing technology secrets from Micron Technology Inc.
The US Department of Justice said the fine is the second highest in the history of a trade secret prosecution.
UMC, formally known as United Microelectronics Corp, China's Fujian Jinhua, and three individuals were charged in 2018 with conspiracy to steal Micron's trade secrets.
As part of the agreement, the US Department of Justice will drop charges against UMC, including accusations of conspiracy to commit economic espionage, and stop the relevant civil criminal case.
“UMC stole the trade secrets of the American leader in the field of computer memory to enable China to achieve a strategic priority: self-sufficiency in the production of computer memory, without spending their own time or money,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen.
UMC said in a statement that its management did not know and did not authorize the actions of three of its employees who had previously worked for Micron.
UMC added that it never planned or shared Micron trade secrets or any unauthorized information from third parties to Fujian Jinhua.
The United States claims that Fujian Jinhua used trade secrets in the development of its memory chips. This charge against the state firm remains unresolved.