Justice Department charges Huawei with racketeering, stealing trade secrets

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The U.S. Department of Justice has filed an indictment against Huawei.

The DOJ says that it’s charging Huawei with racketeering and conspiracy to steal trade secrets. The indictment names Huawei and four subsidiaries, including Huawei Device USA, as well as Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng as defendants.

According to the DOJ, Huawei and its subsidiaries in both the U.S. and China have been trying to steal intellectual property from six U.S. tech companies for decades. This intellectual property included trade secret info and copyrighted works like source code and user manuals for routers, antenna technology, and robot testing technology. The DOJ alleges that Huawei would then reinvest the proceeds from these activities into its worldwide businesses.

In order to get this info, the DOJ claims that Huawei would enter into confidentiality agreements with the intellectual property owners and then violate those agreements. Huawei would also recruit employees from other companies and have them share their former employer’s intellectual property, the DOJ says, and also use professors working at research institutions as proxies to obtain technology.

Additionally, Huawei allegedly launched a program that would reward employees with a bonus if they obtained confidential information from competitors.

“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,” the DOJ’s announcement says. “Similarly, the defendants engaged in obstructive conduct to minimize litigation risk and the potential for criminal investigations, including the very investigation that led to this prosecution.”

The DOJ’s charges also include shipping goods and services to sanctioned countries North Korea and Iran and efforts to conceal those actions. Additionally, the DOJ claims that Huawei aided the government of Iran in performing domestic surveillance.

Huawei hasn’t yet responded to these allegations.

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