BEIJING – Huawei denied on Tuesday it had committed any wrongdoing after the United States filed criminal charges accusing the Chinese tech giant of perpetrating banking fraud to violate sanctions against Iran, and stealing trade secrets from American competitors.
“The company denies that it or its subsidiary or affiliate have committed any of the asserted violations of US law set forth in each of the indictments,” Huawei said in a statement sent to media.
The statement said the allegations of corporate espionage and stealing trade secrets were the subject of a settled civil suit.
“The allegations in the Western District of Washington trade secret indictment were already the subject of a civil suit that was settled by the parties after a Seattle jury found neither damages nor willful and malicious conduct on the trade secret claim,” Huawei said.
The denial came hours after the US Department of Justice filed a criminal complaint against Huawei and its Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou who was arrested in Canada at the best of the US on Dec. 1 last year and later released on bail.
The company said it was “disappointed to learn of the charges,” and that it was not aware of any wrongdoing by Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei.
In an indictment on Monday, the Department of Justice charged Huawei and its associates of engaging in a “fraudulent” financial scheme with active participation of the company’s executives and of being involved in a series of crimes, including money laundering and obstruction of justice.
The department charged Huawei, two of its associates and Meng with 13 counts of fraud and conspiracy to evade US sanctions on Iran. Federal prosecutors also formalized a request to Canada for the extradition of Meng.
Reacting to the criminal indictment, China on Tuesday alleged that the US was subjecting Chinese companies to unjustified repression.
The foreign ministry in Beijing urged the US to let Chinese companies, including Huawei, operate in a just and non-discriminatory environment.
The indictments come amid a diplomatic crisis between Washington and Beijing as the representatives of the two sides are set to meet later this week to discuss the resolution of the bilateral trade war.