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Chinese man arrested for conspiring to steal from Iowa seed corn company

DES MOINES – United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt announced the arrest of Mo Hailong, also known as Robert Mo, for conspiracy to steal trade secrets. The criminal complaint alleges that from on or about September 2011 to on or about October 2012, Mo Hailong and other individuals conspired to steal the trade secrets of several U.S. based seed manufacturing companies and transport those trade secrets to China for the benefit of their China-based seed company.

Mo Hailong is a Chinese national who became a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) in the United States pursuant to an H-1B visa. Mo Hailong is employed as the director of International Business of the Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Company, which is part of DBN Group. DBN Group is believed to be a Chinese conglomerate with a corn seed subsidiary company, Kings Nower Seed.

During the course of the conspiracy, Mo Hailong and others are alleged to have stolen valuable inbred corn seed from production fields in Iowa and Illinois. This “inbred” or “parent” line of seed constitutes valuable intellectual property of a seed producer. After stealing the inbred corn seed, the conspirators attempted to covertly transfer the inbred corn seed to China.

The investigation was initiated when Dupont Pioneer security staff detected suspicious activity and alerted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Dupont Pioneer, Monsanto, and their staff have been fully cooperative throughout the investigation, which is being led by the FBI.

In accordance with the Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct, the public is reminded that a criminal complaint constitutes facts supporting probable cause and that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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