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AMERICAN HELD AS SPY IN S. KOREA.

Byline: Associated Press

South Koreans arrested a U.S. businessman Wednesday, charging him with collecting classified information on the country's arms procurement plans.

Intelligence officials said Donald Ratcliffe, 62, identified himself as head of the Far Eastern operations for Litton Industry Inc.'s Guidance and Control Systems Division. The company is a U.S. defense contractor based in Woodland Hills.

Ratcliffe was accused of gathering the weapons secrets from a South Korean air force lieutenant colonel and others since 1995.

Jim Coles, spokesman of the U.S. military command in Seoul, said the businessman has no affiliation with U.S. forces in South Korea.

The national news agency Yonhap said the classified data Ratcliffe has allegedly acquired included information regarding South Korea's plan to buy early-warning aircraft within the next five years.

Ratcliffe turned himself in Wednesday after South Korean authorities began searching for him. The intelligence agency refused to give further details.

Litton spokesman Robert Stangarone said Ratcliffe 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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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 1997
Words:237
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