Federal prosecutors on Monday unsealed two separate indictments against China’s Huawei Technologies, it’s chief financial officer and several affiliates for financial fraud and theft of American intellectual property.
In a 13-count indictment unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, prosecutors charged the Chinese tech giant, its top financial officer, Wanzhou Meng, and two affiliates with violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.
In the second indictment returned in Washington state, prosecutors charged Huawei and its U.S. affiliates with theft of trade secrets, wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
“This indictment shines a bright light on Huawei’s flagrant abuse of the law — especially its efforts to steal valuable intellectual property from T-Mobile to gain unfair advantage in the global marketplace,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes of the Western District of Washington.
The announcement comes amid trade tensions between Washington and Beijing and stepped up U.S. scrutiny of Chinese economic espionage. In November, the U.S. Justice Department announced an initiative to combat Chinese economic espionage and theft of American intellectual property.
The new China initiative will be led by John Demers, assistant attorney general for national security, and carried out by a senior FBI official, five U.S. attorneys and several top department officials. Former attorney general Jeff Sessions said at the time that the initiative “will identify priority Chinese trade theft cases, ensure that we have enough resources dedicated to them, and make sure that we bring them to an appropriate conclusion quickly and effectively.”
Tensions between the U.S. and China escalated in December after Canadian authorities arrested Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of its founder, for extradition to the U.S. Meng remains under house arrest in Canada. The U.S. has until Jan. 30 to file an extradition request with Canadian authorities.