Dutch arrest man over suspected spying at Siemens

Thomas Escritt and Toby Sterling

(Adds Siemens comment)

AMSTERDAM, April 7 (Reuters) - Siemens said on

Friday that an employee had been arrested in the Netherlands in

a case which the country's financial crimes prosecutor said

involved suspected espionage for a Chinese competitor.

"I can confirm that a Siemens Netherlands employee was

arrested by police yesterday for questioning," Siemens spokesman

Leo Freriks said.

He said the investigation was directed "at the employee and

not Siemens as a company". He did not disclose which department

the employee worked for or whether it was known if secrets had

been leaked.

Headquartered in Germany, Siemens is a leading European

manufacturer involved in sectors including automation, building

technologies, drive technology, healthcare, mobility, energy and

consumer products.

The man, whom they identified as a 65-year-old living in the

province of Twente, is suspected of having leaked patent and

other company secrets, the Netherlands' national financial

crimes prosecutor said in a statement.

Investigators said the man was detained on a train station

platform as he was about to travel to China.

In addition to searching his baggage, they raided his home

and workplace, seizing several digital memory devices.

Corporate espionage cases rarely come to light in the

Netherlands.

The best known is that of scientist Abul Qadeer Khan, widely

seen as the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, who worked at

Urenco's enrichment plant in Almelo, Twente, in the mid-1970s.

Khan helped design parts of Urenco's centrifuge technology

and had full access to its blueprints and its list of suppliers,

which he made use of when he abruptly returned to Pakistan in

1976.

Khan was sentenced for attempted espionage in a Dutch court

in 1983, but that verdict was overturned on a technicality on

appeal.

(Editing by Larry King and Jason Neely)