The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Huawei was under federal investigation and might soon have charges filed against it. During a press conference this afternoon, the Department of Justice did just that, indicting the Chinese telecommunication company on 13 counts including money laundering, obstruction of justice, and sanction violations.
The seriousness of these charges primarily surrounds Huawei’s alleged violation of the U.S. sanctions against Iran. Skycom is a Huawei subsidiary that does business in Iran, but the Chinese company had made claims that it sold its ownership of the company to not violate U.S. laws. According to the DOJ, this was a lie.
After covering up its ownership of Skycom, Huawei reportedly used its banking partners to clear over $100 million of Skycom’s transactions through the U.S. between 2010 and 2014.
Huawei’s CFO, Wanzhou Meng, who was arrested last year in Canada, was named in the DOJ’s investigation. In her executive role, Meng is charged with bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud as she reportedly lied to banking partners about her and the company’s relationship with Skycom.
The U.S. is working with Canada to extradite Meng as soon as possible to move forward with criminal charges.
Additionally, the company is being charged with stealing trade secrets from U.S. companies. As detailed previously, Huawei employees allegedly took information and parts from a robot developed by T-Mobile to test smartphones. A Washington jury found the Chinese company guilty and awarded T-Mobile $4.8 million.
It will likely take months if not years for a court to make a ruling on these charges. Huawei has yet to release a statement pertaining to these charges. You can read the specifics pertaining to the charges here.