The U.S. wants Switzerland to hand over a Chinese scientist accused of helping his sister steal trade secrets from GlaxoSmithKline, Reuters reported on Monday. Gongda Xue allegedly received those secrets from his sister, conducted tests at his workplace in Basel and sent the results to associates in China.
Swiss authorities arrested Xue in May and are keeping him in custody while they mull the extradition request, Reuters reported. He is fighting extradition and considered a potential flight risk, according to a Swiss Federal Criminal Court Verdict.
Xue’s sister, Yu Xue, worked at GSK’s R&D unit in Pennsylvania from 2006 to 2016, when charges were brought and the Big Pharma fired her. She pleaded guilty last August to attempting to steal confidential research and funnel it to accomplices in China.
Yu Xue sent her own research and that of other GSK scientists to her personal email address, as well as to associates who founded Nanjing, China-based Renopharma, the Department of Justice said in a statement at the time. She did so between Jan. 1, 2012 and Dec. 28, 2015, according to the complaint.
The indictment, brought in January 2016, also implicated Yu Xue’s twin sister, Tian Xue, who was accused of hiding advances paid by Renopharma to Yu Xue.
As for where their brother fits in, Gongda Xue allegedly received trade secrets from Yu Xue relating to “involved antibodies that bind to tumor cells and kill them,” Reuters reported. He performed tests at Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, where he worked until 2014, and then passed results on to conspirators in China.
“Gongda Xue knowing received, bought, and possessed a trade secret belonging to GSK...knowing it to have been stolen...with the intent to convert that trade secret...to the economic benefit of someone other than GSK,” said one U.S. charge, according to Reuters.