Canadian business man, his company pleads guilty to having transferred US Navy submarine rescue data to China

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A Canadian business man and his company pleaded guilty to charges related to the transfer to China of technical details on a US Navy submarine rescue vehicle in an attempt to sell versions to the Chinese navy, show judicial documents of the United States.

Glen Omer Viau, a Canadian citizen, pleaded guilty to Tuesday for a crime before the federal court in Washington, admitting to transfer something of value to the United States without authorization. In a plea bargain with US prosecutors, Viau and the government valued the data at less than $ 1,000.

Viau attorney Preston Burton and a spokesman for the US prosecutor's office declined to comment.

The charge could result in a recommended sentence of six to 12 months, but prosecutors have agreed to seek a conviction for the short period of time disqualified by Viau in a prison in the District of Columbia after his indictment in January and a $ 25,000 fine.

Also on Tuesday, the Viau company, OceanWorks International of Vancouver, British Columbia, pleaded guilty to a crime for making false statements to the US authorities by omitting that the company worked on a proposal with its Chinese parent company to sell a version to Chinese navy, formally called the Navy of the People's Liberation Army. In a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to recommend a $ 84,000 fine for conviction.

Viau is the only director of the company; he was also represented by Burton.

US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly condemned both cases on 2 December.

In the case documents, Viau admitted that he and OceanWorks shared a technical drawing with his parent company of Beijing Co. concerning the US Navy's pressurized rescue module, a remotely operated rescue vehicle capable of docking with a submarine sunk by 2,000 feet below water and carry up to 18 people.

OceanWorks holds the commercial rights to the data, which it developed for the Navy, but Viau knew that the Navy also expected confidentiality for certain rights it had on certain data, according to the documents.

China-based Beijing Co. bought OceanWorks and its intellectual property for $ 20 million in September 2016 and started trying to sell a version of its submarine rescue technology to the Chinese military, according to court documents.

The "Falcon" rescue module of the Navy is linked to a surface ship and is able to operate 24 hours a day, replacing a battery-powered predecessor dramatized in films such as "The Hunt for Red October", a 1990 movie based on Tom Clancy's imaginary bestseller on a rogue Soviet submarine.

Viau, who is around 50 years old, is issued for personal recognition and is allowed to travel to Canada and Europe. The judge lifted Viau's travel restrictions in China after his request.

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