US charges Huawei in technology theft, sanctions violations

Posted January 29, 2019

While in a Vancouver courthouse to discuss her bail, a lawyer with Canada's Justice Department alleged she defrauded U.S. banks into making transactions that violated those sanctions, according to Bloomberg.

Huawei, now the No. 2 smartphone manufacturer in the world ahead of Apple, faces 23 criminal charges spanning two separate indictments by the US Department of Justice.

T-Mobile had accused Huawei of stealing the technology, called "Tappy", which mimicked human fingers and was used to test smartphones.

Whitaker said these were not "rogue employees" acting on their own, but that stealing intellectual property was a "way of doing business" encouraged by Huawei itself.

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Huawei has been the target of a broad USA crackdown, including allegations it sold telecommunications equipment that could be used by China's Communist Party for spying.

Huawei and its Hong Kong-based affiliate Skycom Tech are charged with several counts of bank fraud and wire fraud, as well as violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and conspiracy to commit money laundering. At issue are allegations that Chinese companies are stealing intellectual property from USA tech companies.

These US charges come the day after Canada fired its ambassador to China, days after he publicly said the US extradition request for Ms Meng was flawed.

Meng Wanzhou, the company's chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada on December 1.

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U.S. prosecutors say Huawei used a Hong Kong shell company called Skycom to sell equipment in Iran in violation of United States sanctions.

Chinese media have suggested Meng's arrest was politically motivated, and U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested he would step in on Meng's case if it helped get a trade deal with China. The U.S. said during its press conference it was "deeply grateful to the government of Canada" for following the rule of law.

"Both sets of charges expose Huawei's brazen and persistent actions to exploit American companies and financial institutions, and to threaten the free and fair global marketplace", said FBI Director Christopher Wray. "I'd also like to thank our law enforcement partners in Canada for their continued and invaluable assistance to the United States in law enforcement matters like this one". President Donald Trump's own musings fuelled speculation that the US might be planning to use the case as leverage in its trade negotiations with China.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders insisted, however, that the two developments were unrelated.

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