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Prosecutors have asked China for permission to interview 11 Beijing businessmen in a case involving three Chinese men accused of conspiring to steal trade secrets from Lucent Technologies. The three men, including two scientists who worked at Lucent’s Murray Hill, N.J., headquarters, are charged with plotting a joint venture with Datang Telecom Technology Co. Ltd. of Beijing. U.S. officials approached China through diplomatic channels, asking to take sworn testimony from the 11 Datang executives. If granted, federal authorities would pay the expenses of one lawyer for each of the suspects to attend the depositions in China, according to court papers filed Oct. 1 and distributed to reporters Thursday. The trio have pleaded innocent to the one-count indictment returned May 31: conspiring to steal trade secrets and to possess stolen trade secrets. It carries up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. All are under house arrest. According to the indictment, the men wanted to become “the Cisco of China” by selling a clone of Lucent’s now-discontinued PathStar data and voice transmission system to Internet providers in China. Hai Lin, 30, and Kai Xu, 33, had been on the technical staff of the telecommunications giant. A third man, Yong-Qing Cheng, 37, was fired after his arrest from Village Networks, an optical networking vendor. Defense lawyer James A. Plaisted said the men don’t oppose the depositions but are concerned it will delay their trial, scheduled for Jan. 28. The three men formed a company called ComTriad in January 2000 and it formed a partnership controlled by Datang in 2001 that was funded with $1.2 million from Datang, the indictment alleges. Datang has asserted it “always follows the laws and regulations about intellectual patents.” The proposed witnesses include Datang’s executive vice president and vice president. “Only these witnesses know whether the stolen Lucent trade secrets in this case were, in fact, disclosed to Datang,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott S. Christie wrote in a request to U.S. District Judge William H. Walls, whose consent is also needed for the interviews. Walls is to hear the matter Oct. 22. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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