DOJ pursuing criminal charges against Huawei for theft of tech

DOJ pursuing criminal charges against Huawei for theft of tech

DOJ pursuing criminal charges against Huawei for theft of tech

The investigation centers on allegations that Huawei stole trade secrets from USA business partners, including the technology that T-Mobile used to test smartphones, according to the Journal's report that cited people familiar with the matter.

A group of United States politicians want to ban the sale of USA technology components to Huawei, ZTE Corp or other Chinese telecommunications companies that violate U.S. sanctions or export laws. The federal case has evolved from a civil suit involving the theft of technology developed by T-Mobile U.S. test smartphones.

An indictment could come soon, the Journal added.

Neither the US Justice Department, nor Huawei, provided comment for the article.

U.S. officials have briefed allies that Huawei is ultimately at the beck and call of the Chinese state, while warning that its network equipment may contain "back doors" that could open them up to cyber espionage. The criminal investigation now underway is, at least in part, related to the previous T-Mobile allegations, the sources said. The carrier sought $500 million in damages; three years later, T-Mobile was awarded $4.8 million by a jury.

The investigation arose out of civil lawsuits against Huawei, the Journal said, including one in Seattle where Huawei was found liable for misappropriating robotic technology from T-Mobile (TMUS.O). Huawei is a national champion but has always been viewed with suspicion in Washington, with its equipment banned from American communications networks.

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Rep. Gallagher said: "Chinese telecom companies like Huawei pose an increasing threat to United States national security".

Another measure would prohibit all executive agency officials from modifying any penalty imposed on Chinese telecommunications companies, their agents, or affiliates until the president declares that the company has not violated USA law for one year and is complying fully with US investigations. Huawei also maintains it was an isolated incident that involved two employees who acted inappropriately.

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, in a rare public appearance this week, said his company had never received a request from a government to transmit information in violation of any regulations.

While no concrete steps have been decided upon, business daily Handelsblatt reported on Thursday that Chancellor Angela Merkel's administration was actively considering stricter security requirements and other ways to exclude Huawei.

A bipartisan group of legislators in the United States has introduced bills that would prohibit the sale of USA chips or other components to Chinese telecommunications companies that violate Washington's sanctions or export control laws. As part of the agreement, the US lifted a ban in place since April that had prevented ZTE from buying the USA components it relies on heavily to make smartphones and other devices.

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