An FBI press release today announced the indictment of two Chinese citizens, both of whom are now in China and both of whom were in China at the time of the alleged criminal activity, for efforts to export programmable logic devices from the United States to China. The devices in question, presumably field programmable logic devices controlled under ECCN 3A001.a.2, were manufactured by Lattice Semiconductor Corporation of Hillsboro, Oregon.
One of the defendants, Wan Yi Luan, adopted the presidential-sounding alias Nicholas Bush and attempted to have the items shipped to the New York address of a freight forwarder, falsely representing that this was the address of a New York company that was supposedly the customer. It’s not too hard to figure out what went wrong with this plan.
Of course, if Yuan wasn’t smart enough to come up with a better plan, he was smart enough to stay out of the United States, which is why the FBI press release says this:
“The Department of Justice is committed to finding, charging, and prosecuting anyone who attempts to illegally procure American technology,” said Amanda Marshall, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “Even if we cannot arrest them overseas, we will seek to forfeit any assets we find in the United States.”
I think it is safe to say that the Chinese probably won’t permit us to arrest or to extradite Yuan. But all is not lost. Apparently, BIS and the FBI were able to seize $414,000 sent by Yuan as down payments for the PLDs.