Chinese equipment maker Huawei was re-charged on Thursday in New York, to add the charge of theft of industrial secrets, which comes on top of the first prosecutions for violation of American sanctions against Iran.
Brooklyn federal prosecutor Richard Donoghue says in the charge document that Huawei implemented an internal policy in 2013 encouraging its employees to “steal confidential information from competitors“.
The telecoms giant called the new charges “unfounded and unjust“Accusing American prosecutors of wanting”irrevocably harm Huawei’s reputation and operations, for reasons of competition rather than respect for the law“. “It’s only the repackaging of civil charges almost 20 years ago, which have never been used to justify any substantial penalties against Huawei“, Added the group in a statement.
Indicted on the first indictment, Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of the group’s founder, Meng Wanzhou, currently under house arrest in the Vancouver area, remains cited in the new indictment, without being accused of further embezzlement. More than a year after his arrest, in December 2018, Canadian justice has still not ruled on his extradition requested by the United States. A spokesman for the Brooklyn federal prosecutor declined to tell AFP if the new charge could increase the likelihood of extradition.
The world’s largest telecom equipment supplier, Huawei has been implicated, against the backdrop of the trade war between the United States and China, by the Trump government, which highlights the risk of espionage on behalf of the Chinese government. The United States has called on many countries not to use Huawei infrastructure for the deployment of the new 5G telephone network. They also placed the Chinese group on a black list in May 2019, forcing de facto American companies and residents of the United States to find other suppliers for their telecommunications equipment.
Acknowledging, however, that in some American rural areas the alternatives were difficult to find, the Trump administration had to grant Huawei a temporary license to allow American companies to find other suppliers. This temporary license, extended for the first time by 90 days in November, was further extended by 45 days on Thursday, which makes it run until April 1.
According to the services of the prosecutor Richard Donoghue, Huawei and several of its subsidiaries engaged in the theft of industrial secrets between 2000 and 2020. The supplier is notably accused of having attempted to recruit employees of American telecommunications companies, obtaining d ‘them, by the way, technological information. These data allowed him to develop products similar to those of his competitors, marketed at lower selling prices, according to the indictment revealed Thursday.
Huawei Taken Over to “Telecommunication Projects”
Among the examples cited in this new document: at a trade show in Chicago in 2004, a Huawei employee was discovered, in the middle of the night, taking photos of a competitor’s computer server, which he had dismantled. The Chinese equipment supplier then maintained that the individual, who wore a badge with “Weihua” written on it, was a junior employee who went to the show on his own initiative, although his CV mentions that he was an engineer senior in research and development. In 2013, Huawei even launched, according to the prosecution, an internal program offering bonuses to employees who obtain trade secrets from competitors.
In the indictment filed Thursday, the prosecutor also claims that Huawei took part in “many telecommunication projectsIn North Korea. A leader had however affirmed in 2012, under oath, before an American parliamentary commission, that Huawei had no activities in this country. The new indictment includes a total of 16 charges, including 3 new ones. Huawei pleaded not guilty to the first 13 counts in March.
A total of five companies are charged, all subsidiaries of Huawei, as well as Meng Wanzhou and other group leaders, “who have not yet been arrestedAnd whose names were redacted in the indictment. In a separate proceeding, two subsidiaries – Huawei Device USA and Huawei Device Ltd – were also charged in late January 2019, in Washington state (west), with a criminal association for the purpose of stealing trade secrets. They pleaded not guilty in late February 2019 before a federal judge in Seattle (northwest). Their trial is scheduled to start on October 19.