14 March 2019
Looks like Huawei’s troubles in the United States are not going to end soon as the China’s largest technology company has officially been criminally charged by the US government.
Huawei has been on US radar since some time now and this time the company has been charged on 13 counts of violating sanctions against doing business with Iran, financial fraud and money laundering, and 10 counts of theft and charges stemming from that action.
The Government has alleged Huawei, two of its affiliate companies and Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou of bank and wire transfer frauds. While the charges filed in Washington accused the company of stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile and offering bonuses to employees who were successful in getting technology from rivals. The Government has formally asked Canada to extradite Ms. Meng to the US.
"Criminal activity goes back at least 10 years and goes all the way to the top of the company," said US Attorney General Matthew Whitaker in a press conference unsealing the indictments.
The cases “expose Huawei’s brazen and persistent actions to exploit American companies and financial institutions, and to threaten the free and fair global marketplace,” Christopher Wray, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a press conference in Washington.
The US Government alleges that Huawei’s affiliate Skycom was set up to do business in Iran ignoring the trade sanctions imposed by the US. It is claimed that Huawei’s employees gave false information that the company is no longer associated with Skycom and Huawei’s stake has been sold off. The investigations proved that Skycom was still a part of Huawei, says the Government
The other case pertains to Government alleging Huawei of stealing trade secrets in 2012 and accuses Huawei of theft of a T-Mobile's phone testing robot ‘Tappy’. This robotic arm could mimic human fingers on touchscreen and buttons. Huawei allegedly wanted to make its own testing robot to test smartphones before sending the devices to T-mobile and other carriers. The Department of Justice further alleges that Huawei employees actually stole a piece of Tappy so that the company could replicate it
Huawei issued a statement that it had done nothing wrong in either case. The statement states that “The company denies that it or its subsidiary or affiliate have committed any of the asserted violations of U.S. law set forth in each of the indictments, is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng, and believes the U.S. courts will ultimately reach the same conclusion,”.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Government has also intervened and has defended the company accusing the United States trying to curtail the rise of the company and Chinese technology industry. The Chinese government also demanded the US to revoke Ms. Meng’s arrest warrant.
“We strongly urge the U.S. to stop unreasonably targeting Huawei and other Chinese enterprises,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. “We again urge the U.S. to revoke Meng Wanzhou’s arrest warrant and refrain from issuing a formal extradition request, to avoid going further and further down a path of mistakes.”
Huawei’s future in the US looks bleak and which otherwise wasn’t the case before January 2018. Now when a lot of governments are rallying behind the US to ditch Huawei equipment with a fear that the Chinese government is using the company to spy on their data.