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HTC executive indicted for leaking upcoming smartphone interface

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HTC One (verge stock)
HTC One (verge stock)

Several HTC employees, including a senior executive, have been indicted in Taiwan for leaking company secrets, falsifying expenses, and taking kickbacks, reports The Wall Street Journal. Thomas Chien, HTC's vice president of product design, is alleged to have leaked upcoming smartphone interface designs to a partner who he planned to start a new business with. Along with five other HTC employees, Chien has reportedly also been charged for collectively receiving around 33.57 million New Taiwan dollars (US$1.12 million) by falsifying expenses and receiving kickbacks from suppliers. Three employees from unidentified suppliers of HTC have also been indicted.

Chien and the other HTC employees were first arrested in August regarding these charges. At the time, it was reported that the designs Chien leaked were of Sense 6.0, which would be an upcoming, unannounced version of HTC's Android software and interface. HTC's R&D director, Bill Wu, and design team senior manager, Justin Huang, were reported to be among the other five facing charges at the time of the initial report, but the Journal doesn't say specifically who else has been indicted beyond Chien right now. Should so many high-level employees be facing prosecution, it would certainly be bad news for HTC, which is dealing with slumping sales and several other executive departures already.

Update: In an email to The Verge, HTC declined to comment on the employment status of Chien and the other indicted employees during the investigation. A spokesperson said that the company does not condone violations of integrity and ethics though, reissuing a statement that it gave back in August:

The company expects employees to observe and practice the highest levels of integrity and ethics. Protecting the company’s proprietary and intellectual properties, privacy and security is a core fundamental responsibility of every employee. The company does not condone any violation.