Eleven charged with selling Samsung screen secrets to China

Samsung sign on headquarter building with sky in background
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Eleven people have been charged in South Korea of illegally selling bendable screen technology from Samsung to rivals in China.

According to a Bloomberg report, a CEO of a supplier to Samsung as well as eight employees of his firm received 15.5 billion won ($13.8 million) after conspiring with two representatives of an unidentified Chinese company to transfer OLED technology knowledge, according to a statement from prosecutors.

In a statement, Samsung Display said it was “shocked at the results of the investigation by prosecutors, at a time when competitors are intensifying their technological rivalry”.

The accused supplier is alleged to have transferred “3D lamination” technology and other equipment to a Chinese display vendor between May and August, violating a non-disclosure agreement with Samsung, according to the prosecutors. Prosecutors added it took Samsung six years, 38 engineers and 150 billion won to develop the stolen tech.

Police caught the supplier while loading additional pieces onto a ship headed for China.

Prosecutors said that the supplier sold the tech following a dip in business. It is alleged that the CEO set up a fake company with his sister-in-law in charge. The CEO is accused of manufacturing the equipment at another factory in an attempt to cover up the alleged plot.

The supplier, Toptec, said to at the centre of the allegations, said in a statement to Reuters that “our company has never provided Samsung Display’s industrial technology or business secrets to a Chinese client. Our company will fully cooperate with legal proceedings to find the truth in court”.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.