United States accuses Huawei of stealing trade secrets & dodging Iran sanctions

Muriel Colon
January 29, 2019

After years of calling Chinese smartphone and network equipment manufacturer Huawei a threat to national security, the US today announced a 13 count indictment against the company.

In addition, a 13-count indictment charged four defendants, including Huawei and its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, with financial fraud. Watch live in the player above. Meng is charged with bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracies to commit bank and wire fraud.

Meng was arrested in December in Canada at the behest of the USA, which is attempting to extradite her.

The indictments also claim that Huawei set up a shell company called Skycom to do business in Iran, in violation of economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the U.S. The U.S.is seeking to extradite her, alleging she committed fraud by misleading banks about Huawei's business dealings in Iran.

The indictment provides details into how the company sought to get its hands on the technology, including getting Huawei engineers to secretly take photos and measurements of the robot, in violation of confidentiality agreements with T-Mobile.

This story is developing and will be updated.

Furthermore, they say Huawei stole telecommunications technology, trade secrets and equipment from US cellphone provider T-Mobile USA, acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker told a news conference Monday.

"These are very serious actions by a company that appears to be using corporate espionage not only to enhance their bottom line but to compete in the world economy", Whitaker said. This indictment refers to allegations of Huawei workers stealing information about T-Mobile's secret smartphone-testing robot that was known as "Tappy".

In the first indictment, the DOJ revealed the charges that triggered Meng's arrest in Canada in early December past year.

"As you can tell from the number and magnitude of the charges, Huawei and its senior executives repeatedly refused to respect USA law and standard worldwide business practices", said FBI Director Chris Wray.

The Chinese telecom giant Huawei faces multiple charges in the US. The U.S. said during its press conference it was "deeply grateful to the government of Canada" for following the rule of law.

Whitaker and Wray were joined by Department of Homeland (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and several USA attorneys for the announcement at DOJ headquarters. Meng is out on bail in Vancouver and her case is due back in court Tuesday as she awaits extradition proceedings to begin. Huawei claimed it sold its interest in Skycom, but the feds say that was a lie.

In a January 28 afternoon press conference, law enforcement officials announced a series of charges against Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei ranging from fraud to money laundering.

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