A Chinese national was sentenced on Thursday, April 7, to more than two years in jail after pleading guilty earlier this year to stealing a trade secret from agribusiness corporation Monsanto while working in Missouri.

Haitao Xiang, previously residing in Chesterfield, Missouri, was sentenced to 29 months in prison in a federal court in St. Louis. Xiang is required to pay a 150,000 dollars fine and undergo three years of supervision after being released from prison.

Xiang pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit economic espionage in January. Federal prosecutors said Xiang allegedly copied a trade secret to an electric device and then attempted to carry it to China for the benefit of the Chinese government.

Xiang worked as an imaging scientist at Monsanto and one of its subsidiaries, The Climate Corporation.

According to court records, Monsanto and The Climate Corporation developed a digital online agricultural software platform to help farmers collect field data and increase productivity. Part of the platform was an algorithm called Nutrient Optimizer, which the corporations regarded as a trade secret and intellectual property.

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