HTC investigates three employees for stealing company secrets

HTC said the alleged crimes would have no impact on the company

Three HTC employees are under investigation in Taiwan for allegedly leaking company secrets and embezzling money from the smartphone maker.

The Taipei District Prosecutors Office said Friday it is investigating two managers and an engineer with HTC's design department following a complaint by the company.

Currently, two of three employees are being detained, Taipei deputy chief prosecutor Huang Mou-Hsin said Monday. One of them is Thomas Chien, HTC's vice president of product design, he added.

Huang declined to comment on the nature of the HTC secrets leaked.

Chien has been working at HTC for 12 years, according to a company blog post he wrote in February, where he praised its latest flagship phone for its all metal design. Chien could not be immediately contacted for comment.

HTC declined to comment on the investigation. It said in a Monday stock exchange filing, "the company has sufficient resources in our design team and this situation will not impact the company's operations, product portfolio plans and our overall business performance."

The investigation represents another blow to the Taiwan-based smartphone maker at time when it has been struggling to lift its product sales. The company's second quarter net profit was down 83 percent year-over-year, the latest in a string of weak financial earnings. But HTC executives believe the company can bounce back by releasing new products later this year. In addition, HTC has also launched a new marketing campaign starring Hollywood actor Robert Downey Jr.

HTC declined to comment on the three employees investigated and if they were still with the company. In 2011, HTC lost another design executive, Horace Luk, who resigned from his post as chief innovation officer.

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