By Park Si-soo
High-ranking executives including a division head of a local conglomerate were indicted with detention for leaking confidential information from their former company to their current employer.
Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said Tuesday that it will charge six top officials of STX Heavy Industries, including the head of the company's industrial plant division and the vice president of the division, with industrial espionage for divulging classified information they acquired from Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction, their former workplace.
The prosecution said that the six people quit Doosan Heavy Industries last June and moved to its competitor STX Heavy Industries with secret data regarding electricity generation and seawater desalination facilities exclusively developed by Doosan.
According to prosecutors, the former Doosan workers copied a total of 827 computer files from their hard drives to universal serial bus (USB) devices between November and December last year at a Doosan office in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul.
The theft of secrets is estimated to have caused 1.7 trillion won in financial damages to Doosan Heavy Industries, said a Doosan spokesman.
Using the information, they participated in a competitive bid between June and August for a seawater desalination project worth $2 billion in Saudi Arabia on behalf of STX.
They utilized the date to write the proposal for the massive project, referring largely to documents made by Doosan. Thanks to the information, they were able to offer a lower bid than other competitors including Doosan _ the bidding process is still underway.
Prosecutors said STX scouted the former Doosan workers to beef up its know-how and skills in building electricity generation and seawater desalination facilities within a short time as it sees the Middle East region as an emerging market in these fields.