After years of calling Chinese smartphone and network equipment manufacturer Huawei a threat to national security, the USA today announced a 13 count indictment against the company.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said the Huawei cases, which were filed in NY and Washington state, "expose Huawei's brazen and persistent actions to exploit American companies and financial institutions, and to threaten the free and fair global marketplace". Watch live in the player above. Meng specifically is charged with wire fraud and bank fraud, as well as conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud.
Beginning in 2012, Huawei hatched a plan to steal information about T-Mobile's robot, named "Tappy", and Huawei engineers secretly took photos of the robot, measured it and tried to steal a piece of it from T-Mobile's lab in Washington state, according to prosecutors. The charges follow the December 1 arrest of Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng, who faces the possibility of decades in jail. United States prosecutors are also alleging that the company committed bank fraud by violating sanctions against doing business with Iran. She has been detained in Vancouver, British Columbia, since on bank fraud charges related to U.S. sanctions law on Iran. The Trump administration has pressured American technology companies to not use Huawei components, and have asked allied governments to do the same.
This story is developing and will be updated.
In a separate case, the Justice Department unveiled a 10-count grand jury indictment in Seattle accusing Huawei of stealing trade secrets, wire fraud and obstructing justice for allegedly stealing robotic technology from T-Mobile US, whose majority shareholder is Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG.
The company is also charged in a separate case with stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile, according to federal prosecutors.More news: Newhouse blasts Pelosi over State of the Union showdown
Canadian officials arrested Meng on a USA warrant December 1.
"This is something the United States will not stand for, and we're going to continue to investigate and prosecute these types of cases, because ultimately it undermines the national security and economic security of our country".
Whitaker and Wray were joined by Department of Homeland (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and several USA attorneys for the announcement at DOJ headquarters.
During a press conference this afternoon, the Department of Justice did just that, indicting the Chinese telecommunication company on 13 counts including money laundering, obstruction of justice, and sanction violations.
Huawei is one of China's "national champions", an US$8.4 billion firm promoted and protected by the ruling Communist Party. Meng is out on bail in Vancouver and is due to back in court February 6 as she awaits extradition proceedings to begin.