China's Huawei reportedly targeted in U.S. criminal investigation

A Seattle jury found Huawei liable in a civil lawsuit brought by T Mobile for theft of robotic tech. Now the DOJ is ready to file criminal charges
Huawei under investigation for allegedly stealing trade secrets

18 January, 2019

On Wednesday, US Senators and House of Representatives proposed a ban on the sale of chips and other components to Chinese telecommunications companies that violate US law, with special mention of ZTE and Huawei.

Huawei contended in a filing that, despite admitted wrongdoing on the part of employees, the actions did not constitute trade theft because the technology, a robotic device dubbed "tappy", was no secret.

The investigation is at an advanced stage, and an indictment could come soon, according to the person familiar with the matter.

Neither the US Justice Department, nor Huawei, provided comment for the article.

Van Hollen also offered a strong rebuke, saying that both Huawei and ZTE "have repeatedly violated USA laws, represent a significant risk to American national security interests, and need to be held accountable".

The allegations are reportedly related to a 2014 lawsuit between China's Huawei and T-Mobile.

In May 2017, a jury said Huawei should pay T-Mobile $4.8 million in damages.

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The latest allegation could deepen the trade rift between China and the United States and put further pressure on Huawei, which is at the centre of suspicions that its equipment allows China to monitor sensitive communications.

- Establishing the enforcement of the USA export ban: Chinese telecommunications companies that violate United States export control laws or sanctions are prohibited from exporting US-made components.

Huawei is the world's biggest producer of telecommunications equipment. She is awaiting extradition hearings to the USA while living under restrictions in her million-dollar Vancouver home.

For its part, ZTE agreed past year to pay a $1 billion fine to the United States that had been imposed because the company breached a US embargo on trade with Iran.

This week, Huawei CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei, who is also the father of Meng Wanzhou, held a rare meeting with worldwide media, during which he denied that Huawei would ever spy for the Chinese government.

At that time, Washington had announced an indictment against Chinese chipmaker Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co Ltd for stealing trade secrets from USA semiconductor company Micron Technology relating to research and development of memory storage devices.

Saskatchewan ratepayers have provided Huawei $163,598,210 since 2010 through SaskTel, which is once again defending its relationship with the controversial Chinese telecommunications company. As part of the agreement, the USA lifted a ban in place since April that prevented ZTE from buying the US components it heavily relies on to make smartphones and other devices.

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