Huawei: US charges Chinese telecoms giant with stealing trade secrets

Anna Jefferson
January 29, 2019

The U.S. Department of Justice is formally levelling criminal charges against Chinese tech juggernaut Huawei Technologies, two subsidiaries and Meng Wanzhou, the influential chief financial officer who has been free on bail in Vancouver since she was arrested by Canadian authorities almost two months ago. The indictment is available here and below.

In a separate 10-count indictment, the prosecutors accused Huawei of stealing trade secrets, committing wire fraud, and obstructing justice for allegedly stealing robotic technology from T-Mobile to test smartphones' durability.

Matthew Whitaker, the acting attorney general, said grand juries in Seattle and NY had indicted Huawei, its affiliates and its chief financial officer on 23 criminal charges.

The Justice Department also charged that when Huawei became aware of the US investigation in 2017, the company's American affiliate tried to obstruct that work by trying to move witnesses with knowledge about Huawei's Iran-based business back to China, where FBI agents could not interview them.

US-China trade war: The unsealed indictment days before US-China trade talks were scheduled to resume in Washington.

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The charges add heat to the scrutiny Huawei already faces in the West over allegations that its products could be exploited by Beijing for spying-an allegation the company has repeatedly denied.

The arrest ratcheted up tensions with China, which responded by arresting two Canadians on national security grounds.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the Huawei charges are "wholly separate" from the trade negotiations.

The case has badly strained relations between China, Canada and the US.

A Huawei spokesman did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment.

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Ms Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada previous year over alleged violations of United States sanctions in Iran.

The pair of indictments shows the severity of the USA concerns about a Chinese telecom-equipment maker the government has long suspected of working to advance Beijing's global ambitions and undermine America's interests.

He also expressed his concern about Huawei devices in United States telecommunications networks.

China was furious following Meng's arrest.

During the investigation, the FBI uncovered emails dated from 2013 from Huawei, promising to pay bonuses to employees who steal information from other companies around the world. Meng's arrest sparked outrage in China, which called for her immediate release and condemned the move as a US-led effort to thwart the telecom giant and constrain China's global ambitions.

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United States prosecutors filed a string of criminal charges yesterday against the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, deepening tensions between the two countries over the company's alleged espionage and sanctions-busting activities.

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