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Chinese national charged with hacking U.S. defense contractors

By Daniel Wiessner

(Reuters) - A Chinese businessman has been indicted in California on charges he hacked the computer systems of Boeing Co and other U.S. defense contractors and stole confidential plans for military aircraft, federal prosecutors said on Friday.

According to the indictment in federal court in Los Angeles, Su Bin traveled to the United States at least 10 times between 2008 and 2014 and worked with two unidentified co-conspirators based in China to steal the data.

Prosecutors said the trio stole plans relating to the C-17 military transport plane and F-22 and F-35 fighter jets, and attempted to sell them to Chinese companies.

Su is charged with unauthorized computer access, stealing trade secrets and violating federal laws that require a license from the U.S. State Department to export defense-related technical data. He faces up to 30 years in prison.

Su was arrested in June in Canada, where he was attempting to establish residency, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Court documents did not list an attorney for Su.

U.S. officials have identified industrial spying as a significant and growing threat. Federal prosecutors in May charged five Chinese military officers with hacking into American companies to steal trade secrets.

China, angered by those allegations, shut down a bilateral working group on cybersecurity.

The case is USA v. Su Bin, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, No. cr-14-0131.

(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner; Additional reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Ted Botha and Tom Brown)

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