WASHINGTON D.C.: A U.S. court has found a Chinese intelligence officer guilty for attempting to steal trade secrets from American aviation companies.

Xu Yanjun was found guilty in U.S. federal courts of five counts involving economic espionage and stealing trade secrets.

U.S. officials said Xu is a senior member of the Jiangsu branch of China’s Ministry of State Security.

Xu could be sentenced to up to 60 years in prison and fined more than $5 million.

Xu was arrested in Belgium in 2018 and extradited to the U.S.

Beijing earlier said the accusations against Xu were baseless.

Court documents indicated that Xu was arrested after being accused of seeking information from employees of aviation companies in the United States since 2013.

Evidence submitted in court claimed that Xu arranged for a GE Aviation employee to travel to China in 2017 to give a presentation at a university. Xu paid for the travel expenses and a stipend.

The following year, Xu began asking the GE employee for “system specification, design process” information.

However, the company was working with the FBI, which was sending falsified information to Xu.

Recently, the CIA stated that China remains the greatest technological threat to the United States.

Xu was to continue communicating with the GE employee, and later sought to meet him in Belgium.

“For those who doubt the real goals of [China], this should be a wakeup call,” said FBI Assistant Director Alan Kohler. “They are stealing American technology to benefit their economy and military,” as quoted by the BBC.