SAN FRANCISCO—Christina Liew has pleaded guilty in an economic espionage case in which she and her husband Walter Liew were accused of stealing trade secrets from the American chemical company DuPont and selling them to a Chinese competitor.
Liew, her husband, and DuPont employees took part in an alleged conspiracy to sell the formula for a highly coveted whitener that is used in products ranging from cars to Oreo cookies.
Understanding the market for this famed whitener, known as titanium dioxide, the Liews paid retired DuPont employees thousands of dollars in exchange for company documents detailing how to synthesize the chemical.
The Liews then allegedly sold the information to a DuPont competitor operated by a Chinese government that was hungry to produce more titanium dioxide domestically.
Last year, Walter Liew was sentenced to 15 years in prison and forced to pay a $28 million restitution fine after he was found guilty of economic espionage. The same jury sentenced former DuPont employee Robert Maegerle to 2 1/2 years in prison for economic espionage.
For her part, Christina Liew will serve no prison time, but will be placed on probation and pay a $6 million fine. She is scheduled to be sentenced in September.