Picture: Mark Schiefelbein/AP/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Mark Schiefelbein/AP/African News Agency (ANA)

US accuses Huawei of stealing trade secrets, dealing with North Korea

By By Karen Freifeld Time of article published Feb 13, 2020

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New York  - US prosecutors on Thursday

added trade secret theft charges to their bank fraud case

against Chinese smartphone maker Huawei Technologies Co

, further escalating the US battle with the world's

largest telecommunications equipment maker.

The new indictment, which supersedes one from last year, was

filed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York and charges Huawei

with conspiring to steal trade secrets from six US technology

companies and to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt

Organizations Act (RICO).

It also contains new allegations about the company's

involvement in countries subject to sanctions, such as Iran and

North Korea.

"The indictment paints a damning portrait of an illegitimate

organisation that lacks any regard for the law," US Senate

Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr and vice chairman

Mark Warner said in a joint statement.

The Republican and Democratic Senators called it "an

important step in combating Huawei's state-directed and criminal

enterprise."

Huawei declined to comment.

It pleaded not guilty to the indictment unsealed against the

company in January 2019, which charged it with bank and wire

fraud, violating sanctions against Iran, and obstructing

justice.

Its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in

December 2018 in Canada on charges in that indictment. She has

said she is innocent and is fighting extradition.

In the earlier indictment, Meng and Huawei are accused of

conspiring to defraud HSBC and other banks by misrepresenting

Huawei's relationship with a company that operated in Iran.

There are no new charges against Meng in the superseding

indictment.

The new trade secret theft charges relate to internet router

source code, cellular antenna technology, and robotics.

For example, beginning in 2000, Huawei and its subsidiary

Futurewei are accused of misappropriating operating system

source code for internet routers, commands used to communicate

with the routers, and operating system manuals, from an

unidentified company in Northern California.

The company then sold their routers in the United States as

lower cost versions of the US company's products, the

indictment says.

Huawei is also accused of recruiting employees from other

companies, making efforts to get intellectual property from

those companies, and using professors at research institutions

to obtain technology.

In November, the Federal Communications Commission voted to

bar US rural wireless carriers from tapping an $8.5 billion

government fund to purchase equipment or services from Huawei.

US Attorney General William Barr said the same month that

Huawei "cannot be trusted." Last week, Barr suggested the United

States consider taking control of two major foreign rivals of

Huawei.

Reuters

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