Espionage charges laid against a Hydro-Québec employee

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Espionage charges laid against a Hydro-Québec employee

Hydro-Québec head office in Montreal

An RCMP investigation led to the arrest and indictment of Yueshang Wang, a Hydro-Quebec employee who allegedly obtained trade secrets for China.

The RCMP itself made the announcement in a press release.

The 35-year-old man will appear at the Longueuil courthouse on Tuesday. and will face charges of obtaining trade secrets, fraud for obtaining trade secrets, and breach of trust by a public official.

According to the RCMP, the Integrated National Security Team (INSET) began its investigation in August 2022 after receiving a complaint from Hydro-Québec's Corporate Security Branch. Mr. Wang would have thus obtained the information to which he had access within the framework of his functions, supports the press release of the RCMP.

While he was employed by Hydro -Quebec, Mr. Wang would have carried out research on behalf of other Chinese research centers and the university of Chinese origin, explained in a press conference David Beaudoin, of the Integrated National Security Team of the RCMP .

“[Yueshang Wang] would have published scientific articles and filed patents by partnering with this foreign player rather than Hydro-Québec.

— David Beaudoin, RCMP Integrated National Security Enforcement

It is alleged that he would have used information without the knowledge and without the prior approval of his employer, thus damaging the intellectual property of Hydro-Québec, added Mr. Beaudoin, specifying that the alleged facts would have been committed between February 2018 and October 2022.

The four counts Yuesheng Wang faces were filed under the Protection of Information Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.

Interference by foreign actors is a priority for many law enforcement and intelligence agencies around the world. Hydro-Québec is part of essential infrastructure and constitutes a strategic interest to be protected, specifies the press release from the RCMP.

Yueshang Wang , 35, allegedly obtained industrial secrets from Hydro-Quebec, according to the RCMP.

In a statement made public at midday, Hydro-Québec designates Mr. Wang as a former employee of the Center of Excellence in Transportation Electrification and Energy Storage (CEETSE).

The state-owned company adds that the employee was a researcher at CEETSE and carried out work related to battery materials. He did not have access to information relating to Hydro-Québec's core mission. All of his access was withdrawn from the first suspicions. He was finally fired for serious breaches of the company's code of ethics, can we read in the Hydro-Québec press release made public at midday.

“Our detection and response mechanisms enabled our investigators to bring the matter to the attention of the RCMP, with whom we worked closely.

—Dominic Roy, Senior Director Responsible for Corporate Security at Hydro-Québec

No organization is immune to such a situation and we must therefore constantly remain vigilant and transparent and not tolerate any breach of the code of ethics, added Dominic Roy.

On the Chinese site of the Institute of Materials for energy and the environment, Yuesheng Wang, who obtained his doctorate at the Institute of Physics CAS in 2016, is presented as a specialist whose research focuses on the design of new electrode materials for Na-ion batteries at room temperature.

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