Daily Trends Now
Daily Trends Now

USA charges Chinese tech giant Huawei, top executive

USA charges Chinese tech giant Huawei, top executive

Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker announced January 28 that the Department of Justice has filed charges against Huawei Technologies Co. and its CFO, Meng Wanzhou, for a series of alleged criminal acts, including bank fraud, conspiracy, money laundering, obstruction of justice and fraud, against the United States.

The arrest of Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei's founder, Ren Zhengfei, ratcheted up tensions with China, which responded by arresting two Canadians on national security grounds.

Meng was arrested in Canada on December 1, and her case has rocked Canadian politics as well as relations with China, which has claimed the arrest was politically engineered by the US.

Prosecutors say Huawei did business in Iran through a Hong Kong company called Skycom Tech Co (星通技術) and Meng misled United States banks into believing the two companies were separate.

The charges allege, among other things, that the company misrepresented its ownership of a Hong Kong-based subsidiary to circumvent American sanctions against Iran, and stole telecommunications technology, trade secrets and equipment from US cell provider T-Mobile USA.

Huawei Technologies' chief financial officer, the central figure in a high-stakes dispute between the world's two largest economies, made her first appearance in a Canadian court in more than a month as Ottawa weighs extraditing the Chinese executive to the United States.

China's foreign ministry said the U.S. was using "state power to discredit and crack down on specific Chinese companies in an attempt to strangle the enterprises' legitimate and legal operations".

The Seattle charges allege that beginning in 2012, Huawei plotted to steal information about T-Mobile's robot, known as 'Tappy.' It says Huawei engineers secretly took photos of the robot, measured it and tried to steal part of it from T-Mobile's lab, according to prosecutors.

US commerce secretary Ross said in a statement the charges were "wholly separate" from US-China trade negotiations.

"I only will have to make a decision at the end of the process, if and only if there is an actual extradition order".

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang is demanding Canada "take seriously China's solemn position, immediately release Ms. Meng Wanzhou and protect her legitimate and legal rights".

Two sets of indictments were unsealed on Monday.

The charges include bank fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice and sanction violations.

Monday's announcement of criminal charges "is certainly not a propitious sign for U.S".

Huawei did not respond to requests for comments on the charges.

A day earlier, US prosecutors criminally charged Huawei and several of its officials for allegedly stealing technology secrets and violating Iran sanctions.

For instance, the USA charges accuse a senior Huawei executive of falsely telling Federal Bureau of Investigation agents that the company did not deal directly with Iranian companies and that it complied with all U.S. export laws.

The U.S., France, and other Western nations have voiced fear that using Huawei base stations and other gear could give Beijing access to critical network infrastructure worldwide, possibly allowing it to spy on foreign governments.


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