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South Korea Arrests U.S. Businessman

May 01, 1997|(Associated Press)

South Korean authorities have arrested a U.S. businessman, charging him with collecting classified information on the country's arms procurement plans. Intelligence officials said Donald Ratliff, 62, identified himself as head of the Far Eastern operations for Woodland Hills-based Litton Industries Inc.'s Guidance and Control Systems Division. Ratliff was accused of gathering the weapons secrets from a South Korean air force lieutenant colonel and others since 1995. The national news agency Yonhap said the classified data Ratliff has allegedly acquired included information regarding South Korea's plan to buy early-warning aircraft within the next five years. Ratliff turned himself in after South Korean authorities began searching for him. The intelligence agency refused to give further details. Litton spokesman Robert Stangarone said Ratliff has been a Litton employee for 20 years and is based in Thailand. "We are aware that he has been arrested. We have not been informed of the charges, so it is premature to speculate," Stangarone said. "We are not aware of any wrongdoing, and we plan to cooperate with Korean authorities." Litton's Guidance and Control Systems Division is involved in the development and manufacture of navigation and guidance systems for military aircraft, land vehicles, missiles and ships.

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