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The US prosecution announced on Monday three new charges against Huawei, now charged with theft of trade secrets and circumventing sanctions against Pyongyang. The Chinese telecoms giant is denouncing "unfounded" accusations. </p><div> <p>American justice has further increased the pressure on the Chinese equipment supplier Huawei. Brooklyn federal prosecutor Richard Donoghue on Thursday (February 13th) charged the telecoms giant with theft of trade secrets and bypassing sanctions against North Korea. This new indictment, which replaces and expands on the one filed last year, includes three new charges, for a total of sixteen. Huawei had pleaded not guilty to the first thirteen counts, linked to violations of US sanctions against Iran, as well as banking and computer fraud.
According to the prosecutor’s office, Huawei and several of its subsidiaries engaged in the theft of industrial secrets between 2000 and 2020. The equipment supplier is notably accused of having attempted to recruit employees of American telecommunications companies, obtaining from them , by the way, technological information. These data enabled him to develop products similar to those of his competitors, sold at lower selling prices, according to the indictment.
In 2013, Huawei thus launched an internal program offering bonuses to employees who obtain trade secrets from competitors.
New charges found “unfounded and unfair”
In the indictment, the prosecutor also claims that Huawei has been involved in “many telecommunication projects” in North Korea. A leader had however affirmed in 2012, under oath, before an American parliamentary commission, that Huawei had no activities in this country.
“This indictment paints an overwhelming portrait of an illegitimate organization lacking the slightest regard for the law,” US Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr and vice president Mark reacted in a statement. Warner.
Huawei, for its part, described these new accusations as “unfounded and unfair”, accusing American prosecutors of wanting to “irrevocably harm the reputation and activities of Huawei, for reasons related to competition rather than respect for law”. “It is only the repackaging of civil charges almost 20 years ago, which have never been used to justify any substantial penalty against Huawei,” the group added in a statement.
A temporary license extended by 45 days
The world’s first telecom equipment maker, Huawei has been implicated, against the backdrop of the trade war between the United States and China, by the government of Donald Trump who puts forward a risk of espionage on behalf of the Chinese government. Washington has called on many countries not to use Huawei infrastructure for the deployment of the new 5G telephone network.
In May 2019, it also placed the Chinese group on a black list, forcing de facto American companies and residents of the United States to find other suppliers for their telecommunications equipment.
Recognizing, however, that in some American rural areas the alternatives were difficult to find, the Trump administration had to grant a waiver to Huawei, to allow American companies to find other suppliers. This temporary license, extended for the first time by 90 days in November, was further extended by 45 days on Thursday, which makes it run until April 1.
With AFP and Reuters