Mainer sues multinational, claims it allowed China access to US trade secrets


A Belgrade man filed a complaint on Tuesday claiming that the multinational polymer company and one of its US subsidiaries he jointly worked for had allowed Chinese companies access to confidential US customer information and harmed his career when ‘he was trying to stop her.

Mark Ardito, who has worked remotely, is seeking a jury trial against defendants Solvay SA, a $ 12.5 billion Belgian conglomerate that operates in 64 countries, and Solvay Specialty Polymers USA, a Georgia-based subsidiary. The case is about to transfer from state court to US District Court in Maine.

The lawsuit claims that over its 15 plus years of employment, Solvay “chose to exploit its strong track record and ability to generate customer trust to divert trade secrets and confidential information from U.S. customers into US customers. customers in China “. He said Solvay retaliated against him when he tried to stop the information leaks.

Ardito claims that one of the Chinese companies that Solvay employees were able to pass information to was Huawei Technologies Co., a telecommunications giant. In 2019, former President Donald Trump released a decree banning US companies from using the equipment of telecommunications companies posed a risk to national security, including Huawei. President Joe Biden last month extended the ban.

In the lawsuit, Ardito claimed he was able to learn about sensitive customer data kept on Solvay’s cloud platform called salesforce.com. He said information from customers, including the US government and the military, was stored there. He was reassigned in 2016 to a Chinese manager and said he found breaches of confidentiality, particularly towards a Chinese employee who left the company for a competitor in Taiwan.

Ardito says he complained to the company, including six times in writing from October to December 2018, that his Chinese official was channeling confidential information and potentially trade secrets from U.S. customers to be used for the benefit of Huawei.

Ardito claimed to have filed whistleblower reports over a period of seven months with Solvay’s regional human resources office and its legal team. He said the company told him it had no policies or procedures to address his concerns and that the company had not launched an investigation.

He said Solvay “made it impossible” for him to do his job without breaking the law. He took medical leave in December 2018, but continued to interact with Solvay on complaints. He also claimed that the company contacted his daughter and tried to get her to disclose private information about him.

Ardito filed an illegal whistleblower reprisal complaint with the Maine Commission on Human Rights in September 2019. The lawsuit said the commission notified him of the right to prosecute in November 2020. Commission records were not available Wednesday.

Among the damages sought by Ardito are reinstatement in his post or payment of lost wages and benefits and double the amount of wage arrears plus interest. He also asks the court to ask Solvay to train its employees in civil rights.

Solvay and Ardito lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

About Elizabeth Smith

Check Also

Czechs summon Russian ambassador over embassy property deals

Armenia has called on the international community to help end Azerbaijan’s “aggressive actions” after an …