The United States’ ongoing skirmish with Huawei Technologies Co has reached a new level altogether as the largest Chinese tech company has now been slapped with criminal charges by US prosecutors. The charges include the stealing of trade secrets from an American company and banking fraud that is a direct consequence of conducting business in Iran despite the existence on sanctions. The escalating tension between the United States and Huawei has seen a raft of allegations that has linked the Chinese company to the country’s Communist Party’s spying activities. For instance, it has been alleged that Huawei sold spying equipment to the ruling party in China.
The two charges were filed separately in Brooklyn and Washington. In Brooklyn, the US government alleged in its indictment that Huawei, its CEO Meng Wanzhou and two associated companies to have been complicit in bank wire fraud. Additionally, they have been accused of conspiring to do business in Iran despite sanctions. On the other hand, in the indictment in Washington, the US government alleged that Huawei stole trade secrets from American company T Mobile and in addition to that, the Chinese company also offered incentives to employees who could get technology secrets from rival firms.
While announcing the charges, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Christopher Wrey stated that the indictments “expose Huawei’s brazen and persistent actions to exploit American companies and financial institutions, and to threaten the free and fair global marketplace.”
However, this should not simply be seen as a skirmish between the world’s most powerful company and an errant tech company. The US is now embroiled in a trade war with China and the criminal charges filed against Huawei yesterday ensures that the war between two of the world’s biggest economies remains on the boil. Huawei denied all wrongdoing in the light of the fresh developments.
In an e-mailed statement, the company stated, “The company denies that it or its subsidiary or affiliate have committed any of the asserted violations of U.S. law outlined in each of the indictments, is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng, and believes the U.S. courts will ultimately reach the same conclusion.” Throughout the course of this episode, the Chinese government has steadfastly stood by Huawei and in fact, went so far as to accuse the US of trying to stifle the tech industry in China. The Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs said in a statement, “We strongly urge the U.S. to stop unreasonably targeting Huawei and other Chinese enterprises.”