Six Taiwanese former employees of HTC have been indicted for allegedly leaking company secrets, among other offenses.
And based on HTC’s statements on the matter it doesn’t seem these poor scoundrels are going to get off easy.
The charges leveled at the six former HTC employees include revealing company secrets, accepting kickbacks, and creating false expense reports, according to The Wall Street Journal.
HTC’s former vice president for product design Thomas Chien and five others are said to have received at least $1.1 million (about £668,000, AU$1.24m) in bribes and fake invoices, but this mess could cost them significantly more than that.
The Taipei District Prosecutors Office has also accused the six of leaking the design for an upcoming smartphone interface to suppliers outside of HTC.
Allegedly they were planning to launch their own phone design company using the information.
Recent revisions to Taiwan’s Trade Secrets Act ensure that employees found guilty of these offenses can receive up to 10 years in prison and be fined between $100,000 (about £60,000, AU$112,000) and $1.6 million (about £972,000, AU$1.8m).
However, it might be even worse – if they’re found to have made more than $1.6 million illegally then the fine can be up to ten times the amount that they did make.
"The company expects employees to observe and practice the highest levels of integrity and ethics," HTC said in a statement.
"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."
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