U.S. charges Huawei, top executive with fraud

12 2018 a Huawei sign is seen during the Consumer Electronics Show 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas Nevada.- Canada's Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale on Friday January 18
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29 January, 2019

Meng was arrested in Canada last month at the behest of the USA government, which issued an arrest warrant for the executive.

In a 13-count indictment filed in NY, the US Justice Department said Huawei misled a global bank and US authorities about its relationship with subsidiaries Skycom Tech and Huawei Device USA Inc, in order to conduct business in Iran.

The Justice Department announced criminal charges Monday against Huawei Technologies Co., the world's largest communications equipment manufacturer, and one of its top executives - a move likely to intensify trade tensions between the USA and China.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) unveiled criminal charges against Huawei Technologies Co. and its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, accusing the largest telecommunications firm in China of stealing trade secrets, committing wire fraud, breaking confidentiality agreements and violating sanctions against Iran.

The company is also charged in a separate case with stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile, according to federal prosecutors. Huawei has said that the two companies settled their disputes in 2017.

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Similar cases might also come to light during the investigation and the DOJ is reportedly already close to indicting Huawei. However, the Chinese company told the Journal that the matter was resolved in an undisclosed settlement in 2017.

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Prosecutors charge Huawei used a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment in Iran in violation of US sanctions. Huawei and its subsidiary Skycom face charges of bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy, as well as of violating the U.S. International Emergency Economic Powers Act - the sanctions law. These indictments are related to the company's business dealings with Iran, a country under economic sanctions in the states. "Meng has been charged based upon her own personal conduct and not because of actions or misconduct by other Huawei employees", said United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard Donoghue.

Bad Timing for U.S.

Meng, the company's chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada on December 1. "I'd also like to thank our law-enforcement partners in Canada for their continued and invaluable assistance to the United States in law-enforcement matters like this one". Her arrest led to a wave of nationalism in China, with several companies threatening to fire any employee who buys an Apple iPhone, but promising to subsidize the purchase of a Huawei handset.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will take part in the two days of talks beginning Wednesday, along with the president's economic adviser Larry Kudlow and trade adviser Peter Navarro.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders says the two developments are unrelated.

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