The Huawei drama here in the ‘states isn’t over yet. A grand jury in the US has just charged Huawei with racketeering and conspiracy to steal trade secrets, all among 16 charges included in its indictment. Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, still undergoing the slow process of extradition to the US from Canada, is specifically named as a defendant in the indictment.
In addition to several cases of IP theft and industrial espionage — which basically everyone knows Huawei actually did when it comes to all sorts of stuff, from diamond coatings to phone-testing robots — the indictment also alleges that Huawei concealed its involvement when it comes to projects in sanctioned countries like North Korea and Iran, obfuscating the fact that Skycom did business in the country as a subsidiary of the company, and going so far as to have internal code names for the two markets to better hide the practice.
As was rumored last year, the government also alleges that Huawei had a sort of “bonus program” in place that explicitly compensated the company’s employees “for stealing information from competitors,” rewarding them “based upon the value of the information obtained.”
The 56-page indictment goes into quite a lot of details surrounding the alleged criminal actions Huawei and its subsidiaries made against several anonymized companies over recent years, with its various thefts ultimately giving it an edge in the market, according to the Department of Justice’s press release:
“As a consequence of its campaign to steal this technology and intellectual property, Huawei was able to drastically cut its research and development costs and associated delays, giving the company a significant and unfair competitive advantage.”
In response to these charges, Huawei has told other outlets, including TechCrunch, that it thinks the government’s allegations are essentially bogus:
“This new indictment is part of the Justice Department’s attempt to irrevocably damage Huawei’s reputation and its business for reasons related to competition rather than law enforcement. The ‘racketeering enterprise’ that the government charged today is nothing more than a contrived repackaging of a handful of civil allegations that are almost 20 years old and that have never been the basis of any significant monetary judgment against Huawei. The government will not prevail on these charges which we will prove to be both unfounded and unfair.”