The Justice Department has filed criminal charges against China’s tech giant Huawei, striking a blow to efforts by the United States and China to negotiate an end to their trade war.
The two cases against Huawei unveiled on Monday detail a number of allegations, among which attempting to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile, and of promising bonuses to employees who collected confidential information on competitors. Another indictment claims the Chinese tech company worked to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran.
The Justice Department further revealed formal charges against Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Vancouver on December 1 at the request of the United States, which is seeking to extradite her, CNN writes.
“Today we are announcing that we are bringing criminal charges against telecommunications giant Huawei and its associates for nearly two dozen alleged crimes,” Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said in a statement. “China must hold its citizens and Chinese companies accountable for complying with the law.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray accused the tech giant of relying “on dishonest business practices that contradict the economic principles that have allowed American companies and the United States to thrive.”
He also said the Chinese government has an “immense influence” over Chinese corporations, which ultimately poses a threat to the U.S.’ economic and national security.
On Tuesday, the company reacted to the charges against Meng, calling them “unfair” and “immoral.” Meng’s lawyer also said she should not be used as a “pawn or a hostage” in the relationship between the two countries. He maintained that his client had not plotted to break any laws or avoid U.S. sanctions on Iran.
China’s foreign ministry likewise responded to the indictment and the charges by characterizing them as an effort on America’s part to suppress the success of Chinese firms.
“We strongly urge the United States to stop its unreasonable crackdown on Chinese companies, including Huawei,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.
Huawei said in a statement it was “disappointed to learn of the charges brought against the company today” and added that it denied any wrongdoing.