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Canadian engineer Rick van Lee sentenced to three years in prison


December 8, 2011
By Pulp & Paper Canada

A Canadian pulp and paper engineer has been sentenced to three years in prison in Indonesia for theft of confidential company data. The trial of Rick van Lee ended Dec. 3, with a sentence of three years, longer that the prosecutor had requested.

A Canadian pulp and paper engineer has been sentenced to three years in prison in Indonesia for theft of confidential company data. The trial of Rick van Lee ended Dec. 3, with a sentence of three years, longer that the prosecutor had requested.

Van Lee had been working for Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) at the time of his arrest. In that capacity he served as technical manager for Riau Andan Pulp & Paper (RAPP), a subsidiary of APRIL.

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The case involved allegations that van Lee used private storage media for safekeeping company data.

Timothy Inkiriwang, van Lee’s lawyer, said police never performed digital forensics on van Lee’s computer, and the defence team fears evidence contained on van Lee’s laptop and external storage devices has not been handled properly by investigators, according to a story in the Vancouver Sun on Nov. 27.

Inkiriwant told the Sun, “The laptop and USB [drive] … wasn’t confiscated from Rick, but from the company,” he said. “The right procedure … is that the evidence should be confiscated from the person that owns it.”

In the same story, APRIL spokeswoman Jamie Menon said they found evidence of several months’ worth of collaboration with a direct competitor by van Lee. That discovery triggered an internal company investigation, which led APRIL to involve the police.

At no point was van Lee or his wife prevented from leaving the compound or meeting with his lawyers, she said.

However, friends of van Lee say he and his wife were placed under house arrest in May 2011. Van Lee was transferred to the custody of police in July, and has been detained since September on Sumatra, Indonesia.

During his 37-year career, van Lee has worked for global consulting engineering companies such as Amec, Ausenco, KSH Solutions, and Poyry, as well as equipment suppliers and pulp and paper producers.

More information about the case can be found at freerickvanlee.com.


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