U.S. authorities have expanded the range of charges towards Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. CFO Meng Wanzhou in its bid to extradite the Chinese tech exec from Canada.
In a superseding indictment filed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, the U.S. Department of Justice added 16 counts of charges - including new allegations that Huawei and its subsidiaries also did business in North Korea - in addition to allegedly violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.
The Iran issue took centre stage in Meng’s extradition hearing appearances in Vancouver in January, where her defence argued that - since Canada deliberately rebuked joining current U.S. sanction efforts on Iran - the act does not count as an arrestable offence in Canada, thereby not meeting the double-criminality requirement for extradition.
North Korea is currently under trade sanctions from the United States, China, the European Union and the United Nations, among other groups.
“The defendants’ activities, which included arranging for shipment of Huawei goods and services to end users in sanctioned countries, were typically conducted through local affiliates in the sanctioned countries,” the superseding indictment said. “Reflecting the inherent sensitivity of conducting business in jurisdictions subject to sanctions, internal Huawei documents allegedly referred to such jurisdictions with code names.”
The new charges come after continued independent U.S. investigations on Huawei’s activities, the document said. It accused Huawei - the world’s largest cellphone maker and a burgeoning global telecom giant - of “decade-long efforts… to misappropriate intellectual property, including from six U.S. technology companies, in an effort to grow and operate Huawei’s business.”
The intellectual property allegedly taken by Huawei includes source codes for Internet routers, antenna technology and robot testing results, the document added. In addition, Huawei was successful, U.S. authorities said, of drastically reducing its research and development costs and delays, “giving the company a significant and unfair competitive advantage.”
“The means and methods of the alleged misappropriation included entering into confidentiality agreements with the owners of the intellectual property and then violating the terms of the agreements by misappropriating the intellectual property for the defendants’ own commercial use, recruiting employees of other companies and directing them to misappropriate their former employers’ intellectual property, and using proxies such as professors working at research institutions to obtain and provide the technology to the defendants,” the document alleged, adding that the policy was clear that “employees who provided valuable information were to be financially rewarded.”
The Meng extradition case is scheduled to resume formally in Vancouver in April.