Ratcheting up its pressure campaign against Huawei and its affiliates, the Department of Justice and the FBI announced today that it has brought 16 charges against Huawei in a sprawling case with major geopolitical implications.
Huawei is being charged with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) statute. The DoJ alleges that Huawei and a number of its affiliates used confidential agreements with American companies to access those companies’ intellectual property, only to then misappropriate that property and use it to fund Huawei’s business. In addition to conspiracy, Huawei and the defendants are charged with lying to federal investigators and obstructing the investigation into the company’s activity.
According to the statement published by the Department of Justice, “As part of the scheme, Huawei allegedly launched a policy instituting a bonus program to reward employees who obtained confidential information from competitors. The policy made clear that employees who provided valuable information were to be financially rewarded.”
Among the defendants is Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei who has been under house arrest in Canada while facing charges of fraud.
The Trump administration has made targeting Huawei a major priority, attempting to block its access to Western markets. It’s efforts have mostly been fruitless thus far, with both the United Kingdom and Germany in recent weeks allowing the company’s technology products into their telecommunications networks. We have coverage on these initiatives in an article TechCrunch published this morning:
Huawei representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
This is a breaking news story, and will be updated as we learn more information today.