A CHINESE BUSINESSMAN has pleaded guilty to charges of selling stolen high-end software.
The man, 35 year old Xiang Li, was charged with software copyright infringement and exporting technology to China by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) service early last year, along with two others.
According to Reuters he pleaded guilty yesterday, accepting charges that he had cost firms including Microsoft billions, and offered an apology.
"I want to tell the court that what I did was wrong and illegal and I want to say I'm sorry," Li told US District Judge Leonard P. Stark during a hearing.
Li was caught in a sting operation that saw him lured into a visit to the US territory of Saipan for a business meeting. Unfortunately that meeting was with US officials who had already bought cracked software from him worth somewhere in the region of $150,000. Prosecutors estimated that the value of the goods sold by Li on the black market was over $100m.
"Counterfeiting and intellectual property theft are seriously undermining U.S. business and innovation - more than $100 million in lost revenue in this one case alone," said the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement director John Morton last year.
"Homeland Security Investigations is committed to protecting American industry and U.S. jobs from people like Xiang Li, the leader of this criminal organization who believed he could commit these crimes without being held accountable for his actions. Li thought he was safe from the long arm of U.S. law enforcement, hiding halfway around the world in cyberspace anonymity. He was sorely mistaken."
Li is expected to reveal what he believes the sold software was worth at a sentencing hearing this Spring. µ