Huawei charged in US with plotting to steal trade secrets

Justice Department slaps Huawei with new racketeering charges

Citing at least some cases that have come to light previously, the new indictment says Huawei violated confidentiality agreements, recruited rival companies' employees and used professors and other proxies at research institutions to pilfer manuals, source code and other secrets.

The Justice Department has added new criminal charges against Chinese tech giant Huawei and two of its US subsidiaries, accusing the company in a plot to steal trade secrets from competitors in America, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng was also listed as a defendant.

"Huawei's efforts to steal trade secrets and other sophisticated U.S. technology were successful", according to the statement, which said the company "obtained nonpublic intellectual property relating to internet router source code, cellular antenna technology and robotics" to gain an "unfair competitive advantage" over rivals. Prosecutors claim that Huawei even set up a bounty scheme for employees who could steal the best technology, with an internal encrypted email and server to receive the stolen IP.

Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is on bail in Vancouver as she fights extradition to the US, is mentioned in this superseding indictment.

The new 16-count indictment says Huawei used a "long-running practice of using fraud and deception to misappropriate sophisticated technology from U.S. counterparts", a Justice Department statement said, without naming the American companies.

"The superseding indictment also includes new allegations about Huawei and its subsidiaries' involvement in business and technology projects in countries subject to USA, European Union and/or United Nations sanctions, such as Iran and North Korea - as well as the company's efforts to hide the full scope of that involvement".

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Huawei told The Register that it is preparing a response to the claims.

"T$3 he new charges in this case relate to the alleged decades-long efforts by Huawei, and several of its subsidiaries, both in the U.S. and in the People's Republic of China, to misappropriate intellectual property, including from six U.S. technology companies, in an effort to grow and operate Huawei's business", said U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.

"Before the robot arm was returned to Company 5 which had discovered the theft - Engineer 3 took measurements of the robot arm and emailed photographs and measurements to Huawei and Huawei Device engineers".

The indictment also contains new allegations about the company's involvement in countries subject to sanctions, such as Iran and North Korea.

That Huawei indictment is now publicly accessible.

The fresh charges add to mounting US scrutiny over the Chinese telecom giant's trade practices and risks to national security.

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