Former Merck employee arrested, charged with stealing trade secrets

Shafat Quadri, Merck's former director of medical and scientific affairs, was arrested Jan. 13 and charged with one count of theft of trade secrets and one count of unauthorized transmission of trade secrets, according to the U.S. District Court in New Jersey.

The court's press release refers to Mr. Quadri's employer as "Company 1," saying it is a New Jersey-based drugmaker and one of the largest in the world. It says Mr. Quadri worked as the company's director of medical and scientific affairs since 2015; his LinkedIn profile shows he was employed in that position at Merck during the same period. 

Mr. Quadri remained at Merck through Sept. 30, 2019. In October 2019, Merck notified the FBI of "suspicious activity" by Mr. Quadri, according to the press release.

The drugmaker reported that it conducted an internal investigation, which showed that Mr. Quadri copied and removed thousands of files housing Merck's proprietary information. The investigation also found that he used unauthorized USB devices and personal email accounts to copy and retain the information. 

Mr. Quadri made his first appearance before the district court via videoconference before being released on $100,000 unsecured bond. He faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000, or twice the gross pecuniary gain or loss.

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