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U.S. unveils charges against Chinese smartphone giant Huawei

By
Daniel Uria
The United States unveiled a 13-count indictment against Chinese smartphone giant Huawei, Chief Financial Officer Wanzhou Meng, as well as two affiliates Huawei Device USA Inc. and Skycom Tech Co. Ltd. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
The United States unveiled a 13-count indictment against Chinese smartphone giant Huawei, Chief Financial Officer Wanzhou Meng, as well as two affiliates Huawei Device USA Inc. and Skycom Tech Co. Ltd. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Justice unsealed a 13-count indictment against Chinese smartphone giant Huawei Technologies on Monday.

Huawei, its chief financial officer, Wanzhou Meng, as well as two affiliates -- Huawei Device USA Inc. and Skycom Tech Co. Ltd. -- were named as defendants in the indictment, accusing them of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran, the Justice Department said.

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"For years, Chinese firms have broken our export laws and undermined sanctions, often using U.S. financial systems to facilitate their illegal activities," U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said.

The indictment charges Huawei and Skycom with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, conspiracy to violate IEEPA and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

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Huawei and Huawei USA were charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice related to the grand jury investigation in the Eastern District of New York and Meng was charged with bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracies to commit bank and wire fraud.

The charges relate to an alleged scheme by Huawei, Meng and other employees to deceive numerous global financial institutions and the U.S. government about its business activities in Iran.

According to the indictment, the accused employees lied about Huawei's relationship to Skycom, which is based in Iran, by saying it was not an affiliate of Huawei.

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It also alleges Meng and other employees falsely claimed that Huawei had sold its interest in Skycom to an unrelated third party in 2007.

"They willfully conducted millions of dollars in transactions that were in direct violation of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, and such behavior will not be tolerated," Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said. "The Department of Homeland Security is focused on preventing nefarious actors from accessing or manipulating our financial system, and we will ensure that legitimate economic activity is not exploited by our adversaries."

Meng, 46, was arrested when she was transferring flights in Canada late last year and the United States is seeking to extradite her to face charges in New York.

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In August, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a bill banning the government from using Huawei technology based on the security concerns. U.S. authorities were concerned that Huawei and other companies could install equipment in the devices that would let them monitor users in the United States.

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