Beijing Dabeinong Chairman’s Wife Charged in Seed Theft Case

Jul 02, 2014 9:08 pm ET

(Updates with allegations in second paragraph.)

July 2 (Bloomberg) -- The wife of Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Co. Chairman Shao Genhuo was arrested and charged in the U.S. for her alleged role in a conspiracy to steal proprietary corn seed from U.S. companies.

Mo Yun is accused of conspiring to steal trade secrets from 2007 to 2013, U.S. prosecutors in Des Moines, Iowa, said today in a statement. She is the sister of Mo Hailong, director of international business for the company, also known as DBN Group, according to the statement. Mo Hailong was arrested in December on allegations he and others conspired to ship stolen inbred corn-seed to China.

With the addition of Mo Yun, a total of seven Chinese nationals have been indicted in the case. They are accused of stealing the seeds belonging to Monsanto Co., DuPont Co.’s Pioneer Hi-Bred unit, and AG Reliant Genetics LLC’s LG Seeds unit from production fields in Iowa and Illinois in order to ship them to Kings Nower Seed, a unit of DBN Group.

Inbred lines of corn seeds are genetically pure and uniform and are used by seed companies to create hybrids that are vigorous and high-yielding, according to the indictment. Because second-generation hybrid plants are less vigorous and lower- yielding, seed companies create new hybrid seeds every year from inbred lines, according to the indictment.

Mo Yun was in charge of “the specifics from the home country side,” according to an e-mail cited in the indictment. The conspirators were looking to gather 1,000 pieces of “top- notch corn hybrids or inbred lines currently available in the U.S.,” one of the defendants told Mo Hailong, according to the indictment.

Seed Packages

In May 2012, Mo Hailong and two other defendants “attempted to ship approximately 250 pounds of corn seed, packaged in 42, five-gallon zip-lock bags contained in five separate boxes,” from Illinois to Hong Kong, according to the indictment.

Representatives of Beijing Kings Nower didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the arrest and indictment of Mo Yun.

Mo Hailong, who pleaded not guilty today according to court records, is scheduled for trial in December.

The case is U.S. v. Li, 13-cr-00147, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa (Des Moines).

Top Stories:TOP<GO> --With assistance from Margaret Cronin Fisk in Detroit.