The U.S. Justice Department unsealed 13 charges against Huawei and its Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou, Monday. It accused the Chinese telecoms giant and its executive of stealing trade secrets and obstructing a criminal investigation. It also alleged they worked to bypass economic sanctions imposed against Iran (via New York Times).
Questions About Iran Dealings
The indictment included the allegation that from 2007, Huawei employees lied about the company’s relationship with Iranian firm Skycom. It said that as the media exposed Skycom was being run as an unofficial Iranian affiliate, and Ms. Meng served on its board of directors, she and other Huawei employees lied to Huawei’s banking partners about the relationship. Furthermore, the indictment alleged that in August 2013 Ms. Meng made a presentation to her company’s banking partners and lied about its relationship with Skycom.
Announcing the charges, acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said: “As I told Chinese officials in August, China must hold its citizens and Chinese companies accountable for complying with the law.”
The indictment, unsealed in the Eastern District of New York, also alleged that Huawei USA tried to obstruct an investigation to its dealings in Iran. FBI Director Christopher Wray added: “These charges lay bare Huawei’s alleged blatant disregard for the laws of our country and standard global business practices. Companies like Huawei pose a dual threat to both our economic and national security, and the magnitude of these charges make clear just how seriously the FBI takes this threat.”
Ms. Meng was arressted in Canda in December 2018 at the request of the U.S. The U.S. Government is seeking her extradition.
Ms. Meng a ‘Pawn’
Responding to the charges, Ms. Meg’s lawyer Reid Weingarten said (via Reuters): “Our client, Sabrina Meng, should not be a pawn or a hostage in this relationship. Ms. Meng is an ethical and honorable businesswoman who has never spent a second of her life plotting to violate any U.S. law, including the Iranian sanctions.”