USA charges top Chinese cellphone maker Huawei with conspiracy, money laundering

Darryl Dyck  AP FILE

In a 13-count indictment in Brooklyn, New York, the government alleged Huawei, two affiliated companies and Chief Financial Officer Wanzhou Meng of bank and wire fraud as well as conspiracy in connection with business in Iran. The indictment is available here and below.

The U.S. Justice Department on January 28 announced two criminal cases against Huawei Technologies related to alleged violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran and theft of trade secrets.

Acting US Attorney-General Matthew Whitaker said the extradition request would be sent by a Jan 30 deadline.

Tensions have been on the rise between Huawei and the US government for some time, with government officials citing concerns that Huawei equipment could be used by the Chinese government for spying. China detained two Canadians shortly after Meng's arrest in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release her.

It's claimed Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, tried to cover up the Chinese tech giant's business operations in Iran. U.S. prosecutors are also alleging that the company committed bank fraud by violating sanctions against doing business with Iran.

The charges against Meng and Huawei cite stories from Reuters in 2012 and 2013 that said Huawei's Skycom unit had sought to sell goods to Iran in violation of USA laws.

After years of calling Chinese smartphone and network equipment manufacturer Huawei a threat to national security, the USA today announced a 13 count indictment against the company. Meng is out on bail in Vancouver and is due to back in court February 6 as she awaits extradition proceedings to begin.

It alleged the two executives tried to steal robotic technology from USA carrier T-Mobile to test smartphones' durability.

Among the charges are accusations of bank and wire fraud, obstruction of justice and theft of technology from United States company T Mobile.

Federal prosecutors insist, however, that they are simply "law enforcement actions and are wholly separate" from the negotiations.

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 officials provided details from a 10-count grand jury indictment in Seattle, and a separate 13-count case from prosecutors in the Eastern District of NY.

Engineers of Huawei - which was supplying T-Mobile with phones - took pictures and made measurements of parts of the robot, "even stealing a piece of it", said Whitaker. Apart from the trade dispute, the US and China are also competing for control over 5G infrastructure, which both countries believe is key to their economic and military success.

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