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May 10, 2007 

Chi Mak Found Guilty

Following a six-week trial, Chi Mak, the Chinese-born engineer accused of sending export controlled information to China, was convicted today by a jury in federal court in Santa Ana, California of conspiracy to violate export control laws, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, attempting to violate export control laws and making false statements to the FBI. Prosecutors previously dropped a charge of exporting defense articles. Mak faces up to 35 years in prison when he is sentenced in September.

Mak was arrested in 2005 in after FBI agents stopped his brother and sister-in-law as they boarded a flight at Los Angeles International Airport to Hong Kong. The government alleged that they found three encrypted CDs in their luggage containing documents on a submarine propulsion system, a solid-state power switch for ships and a Power Point presentation on the future of power electronics. Mak's son was arrested later and accused of encrypting the material. The trial of Mak's other family members is scheduled to start on June 5th.

A key issue in this case was whether the information that was attempted to be sent by Mak to China was in the public domain or not, since some of the materials included papers presented at public conferences.




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