U.S. dumps criminal charges on Huawei smartphone company and its CFO

Huawei
(Image credit: NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP / Getty Images)

The U.S. has levied charges of selling trade secrets against Chinese company Huawei and criminal charges against its Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou.

In a Monday press conference, FBI, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and Commerce Department officials announced two separate federal cases against China's largest smartphone manufacturer. These suits come just after Meng was arrested in Canada at America's request, and are sure to inflame tensions between China and the U.S. even further, Bloomberg says.

A 13-count indictment from Brooklyn, New York says Huawei, two affiliated companies, and Meng committed "fraud and conspiracy in connection with deals in Iran," per The Wall Street Journal. A 10-count indictment from Washington state alleges Huawei stole information about T-Mobile's "Tappy" robot that tested smartphones. The Tappy controversy has already sparked several civil lawsuits, with FBI Director Chris Wray saying Huawei "systematically sought to steal valuable intellectual property from an American company" to "circumvent hard-earned, time-consuming research."

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The U.S. and China are already in a long-running and tense trade skirmish, inflamed by long-running allegations that Huawei's products spy on Americans. Monday's charges, and America's request for Canada to extradite Meng to the U.S., were expected. Meng's arrest also prompted China's detention of 13 Canadian citizens, some of whom have been released, the country says.

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