(Reuters) – A businessman from China pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiring to hack into the computer networks of major U.S. defense contractors including Boeing, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.
Su Bin, 50, faces a maximum five-year sentence for allegedly conspiring with two other people in China to obtain sensitive military information and export it illegally.
Su’s attorney Robert Anello said in an email: “In resolving this matter Su Bin hopes to move on with his life.”
According to U.S. government court filings, Su began working in 2008 to target U.S. companies. In 2010, he emailed a file to an unnamed individual in China which contained information about Boeing’s C-17 military transport aircraft.
Su also helped his co-conspirators decide which company employees to target, and translated documents from English to Chinese.
Arrested in Canada in 2014, Su ultimately consented to U.S. extradition, the Justice Department said.
Canadian media reported in January that two Chinese soldiers conspired with Su to obtain blueprints for F-35s and other jets. At the time, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said “Chinese government organizations and the military oppose and have never participated in any form of Internet hacking activity.”
Boeing spokesman Todd Blecher said the company “fully cooperated with the authorities throughout this process and we welcome this development.”
Sentencing is scheduled for July 13 before a Los Angeles federal judge.
(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by G Crosse and James Dalgleish)