US Charge Huawei For Trade Secret Theft, Fraud, Justice Obstruction
By Pelumi Olaleye with Agency report
Maker of smart phones and telecom supplier, Huawei, has been charged recently by the United States department of justice for alleged trade secret theft, fraud and obstruction of justice.
According to the vice chairman of the Senate select committee on Intelligence, Mark Warner, Huawei might be fined $5 million or three times the value of the stolen trade secret, for conspiracy and attempt to steal trade secrets. The company could also be fined $500,000 for wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou, and three descendants which includes affiliates Huawei USA and Skycom was charged with bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracies to commit bank and wire fraud. Huawei and Huawei USA are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice. Huawei and Skycom are charged with bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and conspiracy to violate IEEPA, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The charges are related to the company’s alleged efforts to evade US sanctions and do business with Iran.
Last month, Meng was put in custody in Canada at the behest of the Justice department over the about claims. While in a Vancouver courthouse to discuss her bail, a lawyer with Canada’s Justice Department alleged she defrauded US banks into making transactions that violated those sanctions.
Recall that T-Mobile sued Huawei in 2012 for allegedly asking it’s engineers to violate confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements by taking pictures of Tappy – a phone testing robot, stealing information, taking measurements of parts of the robot and stealing a piece of it.
According to the Justice Department, it was discovered that, emails obtained during the investigation made it known that the theft of secrets from T-Mobile was a companywide effort.
However, Huawei denied voilating confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements, saying the theft was done by rogues in the company, but lost the case and paid $4.8 million to T-mobile in 2017.
According to FBI Director, Christopher Wray, he charges unsealed today clearly allege that Huawei intentionally conspired to steal the intellectual property of an American company in an attempt to undermine the free and fair global marketplace. To the detriment of American ingenuity, Huawei continually disregarded the laws of the United States in the hopes of gaining an unfair economic advantage.”
Meanwhile, the United States has banned Huawei from selling networking equipment in the United State, while some countries has ceased working with the company, or are considering a ban. The Chinese government and Huawei have said the moves could have ramifications since the company contributes to industry-standard wireless technologies like 5G.
Warner also mentioned that, “There is ample evidence to suggest that no major Chinese company is independent of the Chinese government and Communist Party — and Huawei, which China’s government and military tout as a ‘national champion,’ is no exception.”
According to Reuters, UK carrier BT said it’d pull Huawei equipment out of its 4G network and ban it from any future 5G deployments. However, Japan has reportedly banned government purchases from Huawei.
Last month, the EU’s technology chief, Andrus Ansip, warned that Huawei and other Chinese companies pose a risk to the bloc’s industry and security.
Huawei said in an emailed statement, that the company is disappointed to learn of the charges brought against the company.
“After Meng Wanzhou’s arrest, Huawei sought an opportunity to discuss the Eastern District of New York investigation with the Justice Department, but the request was rejected without explanation.
“The allegations in the Western District of Washington trade secret indictment were already the subject of a civil suit that was settled by the parties after a Seattle jury found neither damages nor willful and malicious conduct on the trade secret claim.”
Meanwhile, Huawei denied any wrong doing and all efforts by the company to discuss the charges with US authorities proved abortive.