A bit of drama has unfolded over at HTC. Several top designers of the company based in Taiwan were arrested after they were suspected to have made fraudulent expense claims and stolen trade secrets. The designers were leaving HTC to set up a new mobile design company in mainland China as well as Taiwan. Five people were taken into custody and interrogated, Vice President of Product Design Thomas Chien, R&D director Wu Chien Hung and senior manager of the design team Justin Huang, who sketched out the design for HTC One, were among those who were arrested, their offices were also raided during the investigation. Thomas Chien and Wu Chien Hung have been kept in custody while the others have been released on bail.
HTC chairwoman Cher Wang reportedly filed a complaint personally with the Taiwan Investigation Bureau. In it’s investigation the Bureau found that Chien, Wu and Huang were setting up a new mobile design company, registered already as Xiaoyu, and that they would have resigned after receiving mid-year bonuses from HTC. The company reportedly discovered that Thomas Chien had downloaded Sense 6.0 design files and sent them to external contacts over email. All three of them are also accused of falsely billing HTC for over US$334,000 in commission fees for an external design firm, while the design for HTC One was done in-house. They are accused of splitting the money between themselves. HTC has said in a statement that it expects all employees to “observe and practice the highest levels of integrity and ethics.” It is refraining from making any further comments as relevant authorities are in the process of conducting investigations.