The US Department of Justice on Monday unsealed criminal charges against Chinese technology giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為), a top company executive and several subsidiaries, alleging the firm stole trade secrets, misled banks and breached US sanctions.
The charges were announced just before a crucial two-day round of trade talks between the US and China were scheduled to begin in Washington.
The sweeping indictments accuse the company of using extreme efforts to steal trade secrets from US businesses — including trying to take a piece of a robot from a T-Mobile US Inc laboratory.
The executive charged is Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟), who was arrested in Canada last month.
The US is seeking to extradite her, alleging she committed fraud by misleading banks about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran.
Prosecutors say Huawei did business in Iran through a Hong Kong company called Skycom Tech Co (星通技術) and Meng misled US banks into believing the two companies were separate.
“China should be concerned about criminal activities by Chinese companies — and China should take action,” Acting US Attorney General Matt Whitaker said at a news conference with other Cabinet officials.
The officials provided details from a 10-count grand jury indictment in Seattle and a separate 13-count case from prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York.
China yesterday accused the US of “political motivations” behind the sweeping charges against Huawei.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said there were “strong political motivations and political manipulations” behind the charges.
“For some time, the US has used state power to smear and suppress specific Chinese companies in an attempt to stifle their legitimate business activities,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang (耿爽) said. “We strongly urge the US to stop the unreasonable suppression of Chinese companies including Huawei, and to treat them fairly and objectively. China will also resolutely defend the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises.”
Additional reporting by AFP
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