U.S. charges Chinese tech giant Huawei, top executive

Nick Read

Meanwhile, a grand jury in NY has also returned an indictment alleging 13 crimes committed by Huawei, its CFO, an affiliate in Iran and one of its subsidiaries in the US.

"Huawei has misrepresented itself over the years", Whitaker said at a news conference that included US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, FBI director Christopher Wray.

"As part of this scheme to defraud", alleges the DOJ press release, "Meng allegedly personally made a presentation in August 2013 to an executive of one of Huawei's major banking partners in which she repeatedly lied about the relationship between Huawei and Skycom".

The company is also charged in a separate case with stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile, according to federal prosecutors.

The arrest of Meng, the daughter of Huawei's founder at Vancouver's airport, has in particular led to the worst relations between Canada and China since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

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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.

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.

The charges are likely to raise tensions between China and the U.S. amid a trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

Both Ms Meng and Huawei deny the allegations.

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

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The charges in both cases add to United States pressure on Huawei, the world's biggest telecommunications equipment maker.

Meng is now in Vancouver, staying in one of her family's homes, as she awaits a decision from a Canadian court on whether she will be extradited to the United States. It arose from a multiyear investigation into potential violations by Chinese companies of United States sanctions on Iran. The US was facing a Wednesday deadline to pursue extradition proceedings. She was granted bail 10 days after her arrest.

The Justice Department also charged that when Huawei became aware of the USA investigation in 2017, the company's American affiliate tried to obstruct that work by trying to move witnesses with knowledge about Huawei's Iran-based business back to China, where FBI agents could not interview them.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders insisted, however, that the two developments were unrelated. "The negotiations on the trade front will continue to be ongoing".

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