Update: DuPont Pioneer spokesperson Jane Slusark responded to a request for comment with the following statement:
We will continue to cooperate fully with the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office in their investigation into alleged trade secret theft from DuPont Pioneer. We are committed to protect the integrity of DuPont proprietary science and technology for the benefit of our shareholders, customers, and employees.
12/13/13: On December 12, United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt announced the arrest of Mo Hailong, also known as Robert Mo, for conspiracy to steal trade secrets.
The criminal complaint alleges that from on or about September of 2011, to on or about October of 2012, Mo Hailong and other individuals conspired to steal the trade secrets of several U.S. based seed manufacturing companies, and transport those trade secrets to China for the benefit of their China-based seed company.
During the course of the conspiracy, Mo Hailong and others are alleged to have stolen valuable inbred corn seed from production fields in Iowa and Illinois. This “inbred” or “parent” line of seed constitutes valuable intellectual property of a seed producer. After stealing the inbred corn seed, the conspirators attempted to covertly transfer the inbred corn seed to China.
The investigation was initiated when DuPont Pioneer security staff detected suspicious activity, and alerted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto and their staff have been fully cooperative throughout the investigation, which is being led by the FBI.