The Chinese tech giant and about 70 of its subsidiaries were blacklisted by the US Department of Commerce in May, with Washington accusing Huawei of a litany of crimes, including working with the Chinese government to install back doors into its equipment for use in espionage and cyberattacks. The company has vocally denied the claims.
US Prosecutors are investigating Chinese telecommunications heavyweight Huawei Technologies, looking for “additional instances” of possible technology theft by the company, unnamed sources said to be ‘familiar with the matter’ have told The Wall Street Journal.
The probe is said to include several lines of inquiry, including alleged instances of intellectual property theft from persons and companies over the space of several years, and an investigation into the company’s alleged efforts to cherrypick recruit employees from its competitors, the business newspaper’s sources said.
US authorities issued indictments against Huawei and its US affiliate back in January, accusing the company of a range of crimes ranging from sanctions busting, to industrial espionage, to wire fraud, obstruction of justice and the theft of trade secrets. It’s not immediately clear whether new charges will be brought against the company amid the allegations reported Thursday by WSJ.
Representatives from Huawei and the Department of Justice have yet to comment on the report.
The probe is said to include a subpoena for company documents by prosecutors in the US district court’s Eastern district of New York in Brooklyn.
Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated earlier US claims about Huawei posing a “threat” to America and the world, saying that the prospect of the Chinese company’s involvement in new telecommunications systems such as 5G “presents an enormous risk, a national security risk.”
On Tuesday, nearly a week after the Commerce Deparment’s announcement that some US companies would temporarily be allowed to continue doing business with Huawei on the basis of existing contracts, Reuters reported that over 130 US companies had submitted applications to continue selling their products and services to the company, but that none of them have received approval to do so so far.
A former Commerce Department official complained that licences have been held up, pending approval, because “nobody in the executive branch knows” exactly what the president wants.
Huawei has repeatedly denied US allegations that it engages in illegal business practices, and Trump administration claims that its products are being used by the Chinese government to engage in spying. According to the company, recent US actions against it are connected to Washington’s broader trade war with Beijing.
In addition to the restrictions in the US, Washington has lobbied its European allies to reject doing business with Huawei on the creation of new 5G wireless networks, encouraging them to turn to more expensive US and European-based tech companies instead.
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