Two Charged Over Attempted Theft of GE Trade Secrets

Prosecutors say the men plotted to steal engineering patterns and jet engine system designs from GE Aviation.

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GE Aviation (Instagram)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two men from Italy and Russia have been charged with trying to steal trade secrets from an American aviation company, U.S. prosecutors said Thursday.

The Justice Department unsealed a criminal complaint Thursday accusing the two of plotting to steal intellectual property, including engineering patterns and designs for equipment used in jet engine systems, from Ohio-based GE Aviation.

The complaint charges Alexander Yuryevich Korshunov, a Russian national, and Maurizio Paolo Bianchi, an Italian national, with one count each of trade secret theft. Korshunov was arrested last week at an airport in Italy.

Prosecutors say the scheme unfolded after Bianchi, a former director at an Italian subsidiary of GE Aviation who was responsible for business in China, Russia and Asia, left the company. He joined another company that had a contract with the subsidiary of the Russian state-owned company, United Engine Corp., where Korshunov worked.

Bianchi is accused of hiring three current or former employees of GE Aviation's Italian subsidiary to do consulting work on jet engine accessory gearboxes, which are used to transfer power from a jet airplane to other power systems, and to create a technical report.

Prosecutors say Korshunov paid for employees to meet with him in 2013 in France and in 2014 in Italy to discuss and revise the report.

It wasn't clear if either man had a lawyer.

In a statement Thursday, Benjamin Glassman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, thanked the FBI's Cincinnati field office and GE Aviation, a top aircraft engine supplier, for their "sophisticated assistance and complete cooperation."

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