US files charges against China’s Huawei and CFO Meng Wanzhou

Agency, 29 January : The US Justice Department has filed a host of criminal charges against Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou.

The charges against the world’s second largest smartphone maker include bank fraud, obstruction of justice and theft of technology.

The case could ratchet up tensions between China and the US, and impact the firm’s global expansion efforts. Both Ms Meng and Huawei deny the allegations.

Ms Meng was arrested in Canada last month at the request of the US for allegedly evading sanctions on Iran. “For years, Chinese firms have broken our export laws and undermined sanctions, often using US financial systems to facilitate their illegal activities. This will end,” said US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

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

It said the allegations were already the subject of a settled civil suit, in which a jury found “neither damages nor willful and malicious conduct on the trade secret claim”.

The indictment alleges Huawei misled the US and a global bank about its relationship with two subsidiaries, Huawei Device USA and Skycom Tech, to conduct business with Iran.

US President Donald Trump’s administration has reinstated all sanctions on Iran removed under a 2015 nuclear deal and recently imposed even stricter measures, hitting oil exports, shipping and banks.

A second case alleges Huawei stole technology from T Mobile used to test smartphone durability, as well as obstructing justice and committing wire fraud.

The T-Mobile tech, known as Tappy, mimicked human fingers to test phones.

In all, the US has laid 23 charges against the company. “These charges lay bare Huawei’s alleged blatant disregard for the laws of our country and standard global business practices,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Mr Wray said companies like Huawei “pose a dual threat to both our economic and national security”.

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3 months ago

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