Chinese National Charged with Illegal Export of Sensitive Technology to China

On May 23, 2012, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued a press release stating that Qiang Hu, a/k/a Johnson Hu, 47, a Chinese national in Massachusetts on business, was arrested for illegally supplying U.S. origin parts to end-users in China in violation of U.S. export laws.

Hu was charged in a complaint with conspiracy to violate the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). Specifically, the complaint alleges that Hu has been the sales manager at MKS Instruments Shanghai, Ltd. (MKS-Shanghai) since 2008. MKS-Shanghai is the Shanghai sales office of MKS Instruments, Inc. (MKS), which is headquartered in Andover. Hu's employment gave him access to MKS manufactured parts, including export-controlled pressure-measuring sensors (manometer types 622B, 623B, 626A, 626B, 627B, 722A, and 722B), which are commonly known as pressure transducers. Pressure transducers are export controlled because they are used in gas centrifuges to enrich uranium and produce weapons-grade uranium.

The complaint alleges that beginning in 2007, Hu and others caused thousands of MKS pressure transducers worth millions of dollars to be exported from the United States and delivered to unauthorized end-users using export licenses that were fraudulently obtained from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The conspirators either used licenses issued to legitimate MKS business customers to export the pressure transducers to China, and then caused the parts to be delivered to other end-users who were not themselves named on the export licenses or authorized to receive the parts; or obtained export licenses in the name of a front company and then used these fraudulently obtained licenses to export the parts to China, where they were delivered to the actual end-users.

MKS is not a target of the government's investigation into these matters. If convicted, Hu faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison to be followed by up to three years of supervised release, and a $1 million fine.