Washington – The judiciary on Thursday unveiled new charges against Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, orchestrating a successful “Decade” project to steal business secrets of US tech companies.
Federal prosecutors filed 16-count fraud charges Charge Huawei, its U.S. subsidiary and chief financial officer Meng Wenzhou in federal court in Brooklyn on Wednesday. The three new counts include conspiracy to steal business secrets, wire fraud and conspiracy to impersonate under the Rexatia Influential and Corrupt Companies Act.
In 2012, federal grand juries in New York and Washington State filed a pair of charges against the agency and Meng against 23 counts of wire fraud, money laundering and business privacy theft.
On Thursday, the Justice Department said that Huawei had “stolen intellectual property to reduce U.S. research costs,” giving Huawei “a significant and unfair competitive advantage.”
“The hijacked intellectual property included trade secrets and copyrighted work such as source code and user manuals, antenna technology and robot experimental technology for Internet routers,” the department said in a release. “As part of this project, Huawei alleged that a policy of introducing a bonus program to reward employees who received confidential information from competitors was introduced. The policy made it clear that employees who provided valuable information would be financially rewarded.”
The objection alleges that the company violated sanctions against countries such as North Korea and Iran for supplying equipment to local distributors.
Prosecutors in Iran describe how Huawei used a subsidiary called Skycom to smash US sanctions “while obtaining HUAWEI’s links to banking services for HUAWEI’s Iran-based business, while hiding HUAWEI’s link”. Using informal channels such as Skycom, the United States said that Huawei was able to “claim ignorance” about illegal activity.
Skycom was also used to assist the Iranian government in installing surveillance and surveillance equipment during a massive anti-government demonstration in Tehran on May 25, the report says.
The new complaint comes two days later The Wall Street Journal reported U.S. officials have determined that Huawei has been able to secretly access mobile-phone networks through the use of “backdoors” reserved for use by law enforcement for more than a decade. Huawei denied the report in a statement to CBS News, saying that the company “secretly never and never could access telecom networks, nor do we have the capacity to do so.”
The United States has banned the use of Huawei equipment in its networks and encouraged allies to do the same. Despite these warnings, the United States announced last month that the company will provide some tools to build its 5G data network and will make a decision this week about whether Germany will allow Huawei’s equipment on its system.
The White House’s National Security Advisor on Tuesday, Robert O’Brien, said the use of Huawei’s equipment on telecommunications networks around the world poses a security risk to the United States and its allies, especially if China offers to build free 5G networks in impoverished countries that otherwise cannot be installed.
“Nothing is free, and Price will have access to all the data that will be used through this network,” said Margaret Brennan, the moderator of the Washington Atlantic Council and Brian “Facebook the Nation”. “When we are interacting with these networks, we should do everything we can to make sure that Americans – especially American secrets – are protected.”
In an interview with CBS News in February 2019, after the agency and the CFO were originally charged, Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei denied inappropriate use of backdoors and said the company would not comply with the Chinese government’s claim.
“For the past 30 years, we’ve never done it, and for the next 30 years, we’ll never do it,” Zhengfei said. “This is not possible. Because throughout our company we have repeatedly emphasized that we will never do this. If we had it with American advanced technology, they would have already found it. So, it proves that we don’t.”