Chinese telecom and key 5G tech player Huawei, which has already been branded a national security threat by the U.S. government, has been indicted in federal court on charges of racketeering and conspiracy to steal trade secrets.
A little over a year ago, the company was indicted on charges of theft of trade secrets, obstruction and wire fraud, but this is a superseding indictment with new charges. Huawei has professed its innocence of the charges.
The company's two U.S. subsidiaries, and a couple of unofficial ones, were also charged, the Justice Department said.
The 16-count indictment alleges the charges stem from its "long-running practice of using fraud and deception to misappropriate sophisticated technology from U.S. counterparts."
The defendants in the case include Huawei and four of what Justice describes as its official and unofficial subsidiaries — Huawei Device Co. Ltd. (Huawei Device), Huawei Device USA Inc. (Huawei USA), Futurewei Technologies Inc. (Futurewei) and Skycom Tech Co. Ltd. (Skycom) — as well as Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Wanzhou Meng (Meng).
"When confronted with evidence of wrongdoing, the defendants allegedly made repeated misstatements to U.S. officials, including FBI agents and representatives from the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, regarding their efforts to misappropriate trade secrets," Justice alleges.
The indictment includes new allegations about Huawei involvement in tech projects in Iran and North Korea, both under U.S. sanctions.
Justice said Huawei employees also falsely asserted that Skycom was not a subsidiary.
The charge in the earlier indictment was that the company tried to steal secrets from T-Mobile USA (based in Washington state) then obstructed justice after T-Mobile threatened to sue. CFO Meng Wanzhou. daughter of Huawei President Ren Zhengfei, was arrested at that time.
Broadcasting & Cable Newsletter
The smarter way to stay on top of broadcasting and cable industry. Sign up below
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.