U.S. charges Huawei with fraud, technology theft

Charges will escalate dispute between the US government on one hand and Huawei and the Chinese government on the other

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei held a rare press conference two weeks ago to refute claims that the company he founded 32 years ago is under the sway of the Chinese Government.
Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei held a rare press conference two weeks ago to refute claims that the company he founded 32 years ago is under the sway of the Chinese Government.

The United States Justice Department has filed criminal charges against Huawei, accusing the tech giant of committing bank fraud, obstruction of justice and theft of technology.

In a 13-count indictment in a court in New York, the government alleged Huawei, two affiliated companies and CFO Meng Wanzhou engaged in bank and wire fraud as well as conspiracy in connection with business in Iran.

A second case alleges Huawei stole technology from T Mobile used to test smartphone durability.

Huawei rejected the charges, saying in a statement, it didn't “commit any of the asserted violations" and that it "is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms Meng".

Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, was arrested in Vancouver Canada on Dec. 1. She has denied wrongdoing and is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday to discuss changes to her bail terms.

The U.S. has since formally requested her extradition from Canada, according to media reports in the North American country.

The case is the latest salvo in a deepening dispute between the US government and Huawei. Huawei has already largely been barred from the US telecom equipment market, driven by fears that the company is too close to the Chinese government and its hardware could be used to spy on customers, a charge Huawei has consistently denied. Other Western governments have followed suit, with several countries restricting the sale of Huawei’s networking equipment in their home markets.     

Beijing and Washington are also in the midst of delicate trade negotiations intended head off a trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said the Huawei cases, “expose Huawei’s brazen and persistent actions to exploit American companies and financial institutions, and to threaten the free and fair global marketplace.”

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