The US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) charged Huawei with racketeering and conspiring to steal trade secrets from six US firms, in a significant escalation of a lawsuit against the Chinese telecom giant that began last year.
Accusing Huawei and its affiliates of “using fraud and deception to misappropriate sophisticated technology from US counterparts,” the new charges allege the company of offering bonuses to employees who obtained “confidential information” from its competitors.
The indictment adds to a list of two other charges filed by the US government last year, including violating US sanctions on Iran and stealing technology from T-Mobile — called Tappy — that’s used to test smartphone durability.
The development is the latest salvo fired by the Trump administration in its year-long fight against the networking equipment maker, which it deems a threat to national security.
“The misappropriated intellectual property included trade secret information and copyrighted works, such as source code and user manuals for internet routers, antenna technology, and robot testing technology,” the unsealed federal indictment alleged.
The alleged theft enabled Huawei illegally obtain nonpublic technology relating to internet router source code, cellular antenna technology, and robotics, giving the company an unfair competitive advantage, prosecutors said.
Although the six US firms are unnamed in the indictment, it’s suspected that the companies in question are Cisco Systems, Motorola Solutions, Fujitsu, Quintel Technology, T-Mobile, and CNEX Labs.
The report further accuses Huawei of engaging in business with countries subject to US, EU, and UN sanctions, including Iran and North Korea, as well as for trying to conceal its involvement. Huawei is alleged to have used code names for these countries, such as “A2” for Iran, and “A9” for North Korea.
Huawei, for its part, has denied all the charges. “This new indictment is part of the Justice Department’s attempt to irrevocably damage Huawei’s reputation and its business for reasons related to competition rather than law enforcement,” the company was quoted as saying to the BBC.
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