HTC designers arrested for alleged expense fraud and stealing trade secrets (Update)

Chien Chih-lin, center, vice president of HTC’s R&D department, is escorted by two investigators to a court session. Image Credit: China Times

HTC’s problems don’t seem to end. According to a report in Engadget, several top designers at Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC were arrested earlier today on charges of fraudulent expense claims and stealing trade secrets. The designers were reportedly planning to resign from the company to run their own mobile design firm for Chinese and Taiwanese markets.

The arrested HTC designers include the likes of HTC Vice President of Product Design Thomas Chien and R&D director Wu Chien Hun.

Engadget further notes that HTC apparently caught Chein secretly downloading Sense UI 6.0 design files and sharing them with contacts outside the company.  HTC also accuses Chein and two other designers of making fraudulent expense claims worth $334,000 and then splitting the money between themselves.

HTC has not officially revealed any details and when contacted by Engadget gave the following statement.

“The matter is under investigation by relevant authorities. We therefore refrain from further comments.”

News updates:

Focus Taiwan is reporting that HTC has said that Sense UI 6.0 leak is unlikely to impact its operations.

The publication wrote:

HTC Corp. said Saturday that a technology leak allegedly involving some of its designers that surfaced a day earlier is unlikely to have any impact on the smartphone vendor’s operations.

It also adds that Sense UI 6.0 will be used in HTC smartphones to be unveiled later this year.

Focus Taiwan published another report containing details from more news sources in Taiwan. Here are some of those details.

United Daily News:

Sources in the industry believe that HTC moved on Chien and his cohorts early, in part to minimize any impact resulting from the leak. Another reason for the move is to set an example for other would-be defectors.

China Times:

Chien denied stealing any secrets, claiming the data he brought to China was either his own design concept or information that was accessible on the Internet.

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