U.S. charges Huawei with fraud for violating Iran sanctions

A Huawei Technologies Co. logo sits on display in a store

A Huawei Technologies Co. logo sits on display in a store

In a 13-count indictment filed in NY, the US Justice Department said Huawei misled a global bank and US authorities about its relationship with subsidiaries Skycom Tech and Huawei Device USA Inc, in order to conduct business in Iran. The indictment is available here and below.

"As I told high-level Chinese law enforcement officials in August - we need more law enforcement cooperation with China", acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker said at a news conference with other Cabinet officials, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

One indictment accuses Huawei of stealing secrets for a T-Mobile USA phone-testing robot named Tappy, echoing a civil suit filed in 2014.

Washington has said it wants to try Meng on the allegations because, in her position as chief financial officer, she spoke directly to USA banks that loaned money.

Mr Wray said the charges are the results of years of investigative work carried out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. law enforcement.

Prosecutors said Huawei, and Meng in particular, lied to banking authorities to avoid questions about whether the firm evaded US sanctions prohibiting firms from doing business with Iran. The criminal charges include wire fraud (seven counts), obstruction of justice, attempted theft of trade secrets, and conspiracy.

The charges outlined Monday come at a sensitive diplomatic moment, as top officials from China are expected to arrive in Washington this week for two days of talks aimed at resolving a monthslong trade war between the world's two largest economies.

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Meng, 46, who is the daughter of the company's founder, was arrested in Canada on 1 December following a request by the U.S., which will now seek to extradite her. She has been detained in Vancouver, British Columbia, since on bank fraud charges related to United States sanctions law on Iran.

According to the indictment, Meng in 2013 made a presentation to a bank executive in which she repeatedly lied about the relationship between Huawei and an Iranian company called Skycom.

Ms Meng, who has denied the charges, is now in Vancouver staying in one of her family's homes as she awaits a decision from a Canadian court on the United States extradition request.

The US said it would proceed with her formal extradition, a move certain to ratchet up tensions with China.

"To the detriment of American ingenuity, Huawei continually disregarded the laws of the United States in the hopes of gaining an unfair economic advantage".

"Huawei is just one piece of the iceberg", Fisher said in an email interview.

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