Paper trail of alleged Chinese bribery money leads to Samoa

An investigation by Taiwanese authorities into the alleged theft and selling of a German company technology to a Chinese firm has uncovered the payment of US$1.3 million (T$3.25m) in bribes to two bank accounts in Samoa.

Bloomberg on Monday reported the arrest of six current and former BASF SE engineers accused of accepting bribes and sharing the German company’s technology with China’s Jiangyin Jianghua Microelectronics Materials Co., in what the news agency has described as another elaborate case of alleged Chinese intellectual property theft.

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Jianghua offered the six current and former staff a total of 40 million yuan (US$5.8 million), in return for help building a new factory in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu, Criminal Investigation Bureau (C.I.B.) official Lu Sung-hao told reporters at a briefing in Taiwan on Monday. The Chinese mainland company had already wired NT$40 million (US$1.3 million) to two accounts in Samoa controlled by the group, he added.

Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau is yet to respond to questions from the Samoa Observer, including the identity of the bank in Samoa, which was the recipient of the US$1.3 million wired by Jianghua.

While C.I.B. official Lu Sung-hao told reporters in Taiwan on Monday that the two bank accounts in Samoa were controlled by the group (Jianghua), checks by this newspaper with the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour’s online company registry did not turn up any records connected to Jianghua.

Lu said the losses by BASF from the alleged theft could top out at 100 million euros ($114 million) per year, reports Bloomberg. A representative of BASF said the company doesn’t provide an estimate on losses and the amount can’t be confirmed by the company.

According to Taiwanese police, only one of the six accused was a current employee, though the others formerly worked for BASF. The German chemicals maker said it suspended the employee and has taken steps to support the investigation and protect its intellectual property.

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