SeattlePi.com is reporting that Woodinville resident Lian Yang is expected to enter a guilty plea Friday to federal charges he tried to smuggle to China military-sensitive computer chips used in satellites.
Yang, a software engineer who once worked at Microsoft, was charged earlier this week in federal court in Seattle with conspiring to violate federal arms export laws.
In court papers, prosecutors say Yang was negotiating with two undercover agents to pay $620,000 to buy 300 radiation-hardened, programmable semiconductors devices used in satellites.
According to prosecutors, Yang planned to have a U.S.-based company buy the parts from another U.S. company, concealing the fact that he intended to smuggle the parts to a buyer in China.
Undercover agents met with Yang at restaurants in Seattle and San Francisco. On Dec. 3, at a meeting in Seattle, prosecutors say Yang paid $20,000 to buy five satellite parts.
Yang allegedly told an FBI informant the parts were meant for the China Space Technology Co.’s spacecraft program. On another occasion, federal investigators contend Yang said some of the parts would be used in the design of “China’s new generation of passenger jet.”