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HTC vice president for design Thomas Chien, along with several other HTC employees, were indicted on Friday for allegedly leaking company secrets, accepting kickbacks and misreporting expenses, reports the Wall Street Journal. This isn’t exactly a surprise: Chien and others were arrested in August after an internal probe incited by complaints from HTC chairwoman Cher Wang.
Chien is alleged to have leaked upcoming phone design reference – reportedly for HTC Sense 6.0 – to a partner he was planning to begin a new business with. In addition to this, Chien and five other employees have also been charged with receiving 33.57 million New Taiwan dollars ($1.12 million USD) through kickbacks from suppliers and misreporting expenses.
The report doesn’t name any other employees outside of Chien, but HTC research and development director Bill Wu and design team senior manager Justin Huang were named as part of the probe over the summer.
This comes at a bad time for HTC, with sales down and a new flagship phone on the way. Hopefully a big new phone will carry enough momentum to reverse this downward trajectory, but for now this news is troubling.