Chinese citizen pleads guilty to theft of trade secrets

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a Chinese national employed by a U.S. petroleum company has pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing trade secrets from his employer.

Authorities say 35-year-old Hongjin Tan pleaded guilty on Tuesday in federal court in Tulsa to theft of a trade secret, unauthorized transmission of a trade secret and unauthorized possession of a trade secret.

A plea agreement calls for Tan to serve up to two years in prison and pay restitution of $150,000.

Tan’s attorney, Ryan Ray, hasn’t returned a telephone message seeking comment.

Court documents indicate Tan worked for Phillips 66 when he stole secrets related to the development of “next generation battery technologies” worth more than $1 billion.

Sentencing is set for February 2020.