US prosecutors on Thursday accused Huawei of stealing trade secrets and helping Iran track down protesters in their latest indictment against the Chinese company, stepping up the battle of the United States with the world's largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer.
In the indictment, which replaces a one revealed last year in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, Huawei Technologies was accused of conspiring to steal trade secrets from six US technology companies and violate an organized crime law typically used to combat crime. organized.
It also contains new complaints about the company's participation in countries subject to sanctions. Among other accusations, he says that Huawei installed surveillance equipment in Iran that were used to monitor, identify and detain protesters during the 2009 anti-government demonstrations in Tehran.
The United States has been conducting a campaign against Huawei, which warned that it could spy on Beijing customers. Washington placed the company on a commercial blacklist last year, citing national security concerns.
The accusation is "part of an attempt to irrevocably damage Huawei's reputation and business for reasons related to competition rather than law enforcement," Huawei said in a statement.
He called the accusation of organized crime "an artificial repackaging of a handful of civil charges that are almost 20 years old."
Huawei pleaded not guilty to the previous indictment revealed against the company in January 2019, which accused it of bank and electronic fraud, violating sanctions against Iran and obstructing justice.
Its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in December 2018 in Canada for the charges in that accusation, which caused an uproar in China and a chill in relations between Canada and China. She has said she is innocent and is fighting extradition.
There are no new charges against Meng in the replacement charge.
The new charges of theft of trade secrets are related to the source code of the Internet router, cellular antenna technology and robotics.
For example, as of 2000, Huawei and its subsidiary Futurewei Technologies are accused of misappropriating the source code of the operating system for Internet routers, commands used to communicate with routers and operating system manuals, of a company in northern California. Futurewei was added as a defendant in the last indictment.
Huawei then sold its routers in the United States as lower-cost versions of the company's products, the indictment says.
Although the US company is not identified, Cisco Systems sued Huawei in Texas in 2003 for copyright infringement related to its routers.
Huawei is also accused of recruiting employees of other companies, making efforts to obtain the intellectual property of those companies and using professors in research institutions to obtain technology.
"The accusation paints a condemnatory portrait of an illegitimate organization that lacks respect for the law," US Senate Intelligence Committee President Richard Burr and Vice President Mark Warner said in a joint statement.
Republican senators and Democrats called it "an important step in the fight against the criminal enterprise and led by the state of Huawei."
The accusation also accuses Meng and Huawei of conspiring to defraud HSBC and other banks by misrepresenting Huawei's relationship with a company operating in Iran.
He refers to Reuters reports seven years ago about Huawei's ties to Skycom Tech, which offered to sell products of American origin to Iran, in violation of US law. He also mentions news reports in Reuters and the Wall Street Journal that said Huawei helped the Iranian government in domestic surveillance.
In addition to accusing Huawei of lying about its operations in Iran, the latest accusation says that Huawei falsely represented banks that had no business in North Korea.
In May, the US Department of Commerce put Huawei on a commercial blacklist that restricted US suppliers from selling parts and components to the company.
On Thursday, in some positive news for the company, the Commerce Department announced that it was extending a temporary general license for 45 days, allowing US companies to continue doing business with Huawei. The measure is intended to maintain existing equipment and allow rural community providers more time to find alternatives to the company's networks.
At the same time, the United States is considering new regulations to stop more foreign shipments of products with US technology to Huawei.
And Washington has continued to pressure other countries to remove Huawei from its cellular networks for its claim that Beijing could use the equipment to spy.
© Thomson Reuters 2020