U.S. charges Huawei, top executive with fraud

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In a 13-count indictment in Brooklyn, New York, the government alleged Huawei, two affiliated companies and its chief financial officer of fraud and conspiracy in connection with deals in Iran.

The United States Justice Department has unsealed two indictments against China's Huawei Technologies, several of its subsidiaries and its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou.

Behaviors cited by prosecutors in the T-Mobile case indicate that offenses took place from 2012 to 2014, and that Huawei in July 2013 sent out an internal email that "was offering bonuses to employees who succeeded in stealing confidential information from other companies".

It alleged the two executives tried to steal robotic technology from US carrier T-Mobile to test smartphones' durability. Huawei has said the two companies settled their disputes in 2017.

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They claimed that Huawei had sold its stake in Skycom - a sale the USA alleges was "orchestrated.to appear as an arm's-length transaction between two unrelated parties, when in fact Huawei actually controlled the company that purchased Skycom".

The charges range from conspiracy to bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice. "They willfully conducted millions of dollars in transactions that were in direct violation of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, and such behavior will not be tolerated".

Whitaker and Federal Bureau of Investigation director Christopher Wray both thanked Canadian officials for their help.

USA prosecutors charge that Huawei used a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment in Iran in violation of United States sanctions.

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President Donald Trump said he would get involved in the Huawei case if it would help produce a trade agreement with China, and said in December that he would "intervene if I thought it was necessary".

Wanzhou Meng remains in Canada after being released by police, but it seems likely she will be extradited to the US.

Acting US Attorney General Matt Whitaker, centre, announces an indictment of Chinese telecommunications companies including Huawei, on violations including bank and wire fraud, At left is US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and FBI Director Christopher Wray, at right.

Huawei is one of China's "national champions", an US$8.4 billion firm promoted and protected by the ruling Communist Party.

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News of the charges comes just as the White House is making plans for a team of high-level economic advisers to meet a delegation from China later this week to talk trade between the two countries.

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