by: Blake Hanson Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Prosecutors say a man charged with stealing trade secrets from a Charlotte company was performing "economic espionage" and being paid by the Chinese government.
Xiwen Huang, 45, was arrested last week following a months-long FBI investigation.
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Huang worked for a company in New Jersey and later a company in Charlotte that he stole trade secret information from, according to court documents.
Huang worked on "catalyst" technology for energy technology companies, investigators said.
Prosecutors unveiled Friday that the FBI investigation began when the Charlotte company began hearing rumors that Huang was working against the company's venture in China.
The company claimed Huang once disappeared for several days and said he was in Chicago, but he was actually in China.
A search of Huang's office at the Charlotte company revealed trade secrets he had taken from his former employer in New Jersey and he was fired, documents said.
Investigators claim while working for the Charlotte company, Huang met with officials from the Chinese government and was interested in a partnership with a state-run power company.
Prosecutors also claimed Friday that Huang applied for and received tens of thousands of dollars' worth of grants from the Chinese government. U.S. Attorney Kevin Zolot said the grant was aimed at bringing technology back to China.
FBI agents arrested Huang at his home in Ballatyne Friday morning. Prosecutors said Huang waived his Miranda Rights and had a four-hour long conversation with investigators before he was taken to the federal courthouse in uptown Charlotte.
FBI agents also seized three to four terabytes of information that investigators are still sifting through. However, prosecutors dropped a bombshell Friday and said they were shocked to learn.
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