By Morgan Lowrie in Montreal
A Montreal-area Hydro-Québec employee is facing four espionage-related charges after allegedly sending trade secrets to China “to the detriment of Canada’s economic interests,” the RCMP said Monday.
Yuesheng Wang, 35, will appear in court in Longueuil, Que., Tuesday to face charges of obtaining trade secrets, using a computer without authorization, and with fraud and breach of trust by a public officer. The force said its national security enforcement team began an investigation in August after receiving a complaint from Hydro-Québec’s corporate security branch.
“Foreign actor interference is a priority for many law enforcement and intelligence agencies around the world,” the RCMP said in a news release.
“Hydro-Québec is considered a critical infrastructure and a strategic interest to be protected.”
Wang, a resident of Candiac, Que., south of Montreal, allegedly had access to the relevant information as part of his job at the provincial utility, police said.
In a statement, Hydro-Québec said Wang was a researcher who worked on battery materials with the Center of Excellence in Transportation Electrification and Energy Storage, known as CETEES. The utility said its security team launched its own investigation before quickly flagging authorities.
“Our detection and intervention mechanisms allowed our investigators to bring this matter to the attention of the RCMP, with whom we have worked closely ever since,” said Dominic Roy, senior director responsible for corporate security.
“No organization is safe from a situation like this one, which is why we must always remain vigilant and transparent, and we must not tolerate violations of the company’s code of ethics.”
The former employee did not have access to information related to Hydro-Québec’s “core mission,” and his accesses were revoked when suspicions arose, the company added. It said the centre where he worked develops technology for electric vehicles and energy storage systems.
RCMP said foreign interference has emerged as a priority for law enforcement, adding that it is working with at-risk sectors to improve Canada’s response and resiliency.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 14, 2022.
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