The defendants included in today's16-count superseding indictment are Huawei - the world's largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment - and four official and unofficial subsidiaries: Huawei Device Co.
The new document accuses Huawei of using various means to steal trade secrets from six different companies based in the USA, adding to earlier allegations that focused just on cell-phone network operator T-Mobile. Huawei is now accused of stealing American technologies.
The new allegations add to the company's legal woes in the U.S. The superseding indictment brought by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn adds charges of racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to steal trade secrets to an existing criminal case in that district, where the company was already charged with lying to banks about deals that violated economic sanctions against Iran.
The company did not immediately respond to an AFP inquiry.
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The new trade secret theft charges relate to internet router source code, cellular antenna technology, and robotics.
The new 16-count indictment says Huawei used a "long-running practice of using fraud and deception to misappropriate sophisticated technology from U.S. counterparts", a Justice Department statement said, without naming the American companies.
In another episode, a professor at a Chinese university entered into a contract with Huawei to develop prototype software for memory hardware, then signed a licensing agreement with a rival company that offered the professor access to its own proprietary technology.
Huawei is accused of recruiting employees of other companies and "directing them to misappropriate their former employers' intellectual property".
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The racketeering charge wraps in existing allegations that Huawei broke United States sanctions against Iran by operating a secret subsidiary there, and further claims that Huawei did similar work in North Korea stretching back to 2008.
Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves B.C. Supreme Court on a lunch break during her extradition hearing at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada January 22, 2020.
"The indictment paints a damning portrait of an illegitimate organisation that lacks any regard for the law", US Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr and vice chairman Mark Warner said in a joint statement. It alleged, among other claims, that Huawei had lied about its relationship with Skycom, which prosecutors said was an "unofficial subsidiary" of Huawei that had assisted Iran in performing domestic surveillance, including against demonstrators in Tehran in 2009.
"Intellectual property theft, corporate sabotage, and market manipulation are part of Huawei's core ethos and reflected in every aspect of how it conducts business".
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