China-based Canadian stole Tesla secrets, say U.S. prosecutors

Tesla trade secrets theft China


NEW YORK— A Canadian resident of China was detained in the United States for allegedly stealing trade secrets from electric car maker Tesla and conspiring to sell them to undercover law enforcement authorities.

According to federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, Klaus Pflugbeil, the owner of a Chinese company that offers technology for electric vehicles, was detained in New York on Tuesday.

He had traveled to meet with undercover officers he thought were Long Island merchants, according to authorities.

According to prosecutors, Pflugbeil and his business partner Yilong Shao used trade secrets from “a renowned US-based electric car manufacturer” to build their business. Shao was also charged but remains at large.

Prosecutors did not identify the US-based corporation but did say it bought a battery assembly line maker in Canada in 2019. That describes Tesla’s acquisition of Hibar, a Canadian startup.

According to authorities, both Pflugbeil and Shao are former employees of the Canadian corporation.

Prosecutors said Pflugbeil was scheduled to appear in Brooklyn federal court on Tuesday afternoon. His attorney did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Shao was unavailable for comment.

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