Mike Carter, Seattle Times, March 24, 2011
A 47-year-old Woodinville man pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to violate the Arms Export Control Act by trying to sell sensitive “radiation-hardened” military and aerospace technology to China.
Federal prosecutors said Lian Yang tried to export 300 semiconductors the U.S. government has said have no purpose outside military or aerospace use. They suspect the parts were for use in China’s “next-Gen spaceship program.”
Yang was arrested in December after he offered to purchase the radiation-hardened semiconductors used by the military in satellites for $700,000 from undercover FBI agents.
Yang and unnamed “co-conspirators” deposited a $60,000 down payment in an account set up by the agents, the complaint says.
He was arrested in a sting operation as he was dropping off a $20,000 payment.
Yang came to the FBI’s attention when a businessman approached the agency last March after being introduced to Yang by a mutual friend. The businessman, who went on to work as a confidential source, told agents Yang had said he had “old school friends” in China who make money importing electronic components from the United States, the complaint says.
The charges say Yang was employed as a consultant at Microsoft and sometimes traveled to China as a recruiter.