Recently, the United States Department of Justice announced an indictment against the tech giant Huawei as well as its subsidiaries. Of note, this is the third indictment the department has filed against the tech company over the past year. The legal issues for Huawei started back in January of 2019. During that time, the tech giant was indicted twice. The first indictment was filed in the Western District of Washington and alleged that Huawei was trying to steal trade secrets from its rival, T-Mobile. The indictment went into details of how employees for Huawei tried to remove a mechanical arm from T-Mobile’s laboratory. At the time, the technology was proprietary.
The second indictment, which was filed about a week later in the Eastern District of New York, alleged that Huawei was trying to obtain prohibited goods, technology, and services that came from the US. The indictment alleges that these products and services were intended for use in Iran. The indictment also alleges that Huawei was trying to cover up its connection to the Iranian operation.
The most recent indictment filed a few weeks ago in the Eastern District of New York makes new allegations. The indictment charges the company with a conspiracy to conceal trade secrets, conspiracy to commit racketeering, and a conspiracy to commit wire fraud. These charges are being filed under the RICO act, which stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. This document also makes new allegations regarding Huawei’s ability to conduct business with countries that have been sanctioned both by the United States and the international community, such as Iran and North Korea.
Some of the subsidiaries of Huawei that have been named in the suit include Skycom, Huawei Device, Futurwei Technologies, and Huawei USA. The suit also names Meng Wanzhou, who is the CFO and daughter of the founder of the company.
Furthermore, the indictment also alleges obstruction of justice. The suit claims that the company inaccurately portrayed the activities of the company to a grand jury. The suit also claims that Huawei presented inaccurate and false information during testimony given to the House of Representatives regarding how the company operates in North Korea and Iran. Finally, the indictment alleges that employees of Huawei falsely testified again before congress regarding where and how the company obtained source code. The indictment accuses Huawei of misappropriation of source code, claiming the code was already available on the internet when it, in fact, was not.
Huawei is one of the largest tech companies in the world, producing mobile phones (among other products) found all over the world. Huawei is a Chinese company and has found itself in the middle of trade negotiations, including the trade war, that is still active between China and the United States. While Huawei has persistently claimed that all of its actions are in compliance with the laws of the jurisdictions in which it operates, this new indictment is troubling and will likely take a long time to sort out.