WASHINGTON – The US government presented on Monday a pair of federal indictments against Chinese tech giant Huawei that encompass charges ranging from financial fraud to industrial espionage.
Federal prosecutors also formalized a request to Canada for the extradition of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of company founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei.
Canadian authorities detained Meng last month at Washington’s behest and she is currently free on bail.
Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is the world’s largest maker of telecommunications and China’s flagship enterprise. Beijing has reacted angrily to the US legal offensive against the company and its executives.
The indictment handed down by a federal grand jury in Seattle pertains to alleged industrial espionage by Huawei against T-Mobile.
The more explosive charges – including those involving Meng – are contained in an indictment unsealed Monday in a federal court in Brooklyn, New York.
Huawei, two of its affiliates and Meng are accused of committing bank fraud, wire fraud and other financial misdeeds to evade US sanctions against Iran.
“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 during a press conference at the Department of Justice.
“As charged in the indictment, Huawei and its Chief Financial Officer broke U.S. law and have engaged in a fraudulent financial scheme that is detrimental to the security of the United States,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said.
“They willfully conducted millions of dollars in transactions that were in direct violation of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, and such behavior will not be tolerated,” she said.
Last week, the Chinese government urged the US to drop the bid for Meng’s extradition and asked Canada to allow her to leave.
Several Canadians have been detained in China since Meng’s arrest and most of Beijing’s public ire has been directed at Ottawa.
Over the weekend, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fired his country’s ambassador to China after the envoy suggested that the courts in Canada might rule against extradition.
US President Donald Trump’s suggestions that he could use the legal case against Huawei and Meng to pressure China on trade may be grounds for a Canadian judge to rebuff the extradition request, John McCallum said.