A researcher who previously worked for Samsung Display has been arrested and indicted for the allegation that they leaked trade secrets related to OLED technologies to China.
The unnamed researcher was in China five months prior but returned voluntarily to face the charges of leaking trade secrets under the antitrust laws of South Korea.
Prosecutors claim the 49-year-old conspired with other researchers to leak OLED technologies owned by Samsung Display and transfer them to his own companies in South Korea and China.
The researcher attempted to sell technologies related to OLED excimer laser annealing equipment and optically clean resin inkjet machinery between 2018 to May 2020.
They had worked at Samsung Display for over ten years and oversaw areas related to the equipment, prosecutors said.
Afterward, he worked at a Chinese display company, which prosecutors didn’t name, and usually worked in China.
Prosecutors said they started the investigation from a tip by the National Intelligence Service, South Korea’s version of the CIA.
The researcher fled to China, while his co-conspirators of five received a guilty verdict that was finalized by the Supreme Court in November 2021.
Prosecutors valued the trade secrets at 340 billion won, or around US$300 million, and claimed the companies in South Korea and China benefited from the leak.