Huawei pleads not guilty to fraud, violating Iran sanctions


Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. has formally entered a not-guilty plea in New York after the company was arraigned Thursday.

Lawyers for the company- whose CFO, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Vancouver in December and is currently fighting extradition to the United States - made the response after federal prosecutors filed suit in a Brooklyn federal court.

U.S. authorities accuse Huawei of setting up a subsidiary company to do business in Iran, in contravention to existing U.S. sanctions. Huawei and Meng are also accused to have lied to banks in the United States (such as HSBC) while processing the proceeds of business in Iran through the U.S. banking system.

In addition, American prosecutors in Seattle in January also charged the company with stealing trade secrets from companies such as T-Mobile USA.

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei - Meng’s father - has said the company will never engage in espionage while calling the arrest of his daughter politically motivated. Beijing, meanwhile, has ratcheted up pressure in Canada due to Meng’s arrest, the latest of which saw Chinese authorities revoke the canola import permits of Richardson International, one of Canada’s biggest grain processors.

Meanwhile, the two Canadians arrested in China days after Meng’s arrest - Michael Korvig and Michael Spavor - are now facing espionage charges for allegedly “stealing sensitive state secrets” in tandem. Many observers view the arrests as direct retaliation to Meng’s arrest.