The United States has filed a slew of criminal charges against Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, and the company's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou.
The US Justice Department on Monday filed nearly two dozen charges against the world's second largest smartphone maker.
Trade Secret Theft
A 10-count indictment claims Huawei tried to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile and promised bonuses to employees who gathered confidential information about the company's competitors.
It claimed that Huawei worked for years to steal ideas from T-Mobile's phone testing robot known as Tappy, which mimicked human fingers to test phones.
Huawei supplied phones to T-Mobile and this relationship provided it with access to some information about T-Mobile's proprietary phone testing technology.
Huawei was also working on its own phone-testing robot in China and federal prosecutors said the company repeatedly directed its employees to gather information about how Tappy worked, which violated the confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements Huawei had with T-Mobile.
One of Huawei's employees was caught stealing one of the robot's arms. Huawei blamed rogue employees for attempts to steal the technology when T-Mobile sued. It nonetheless allegedly launched a formal bonus program that rewarded employees who stole trade secrets from competitors.
Violation Of US Sanctions Against Iran
Huawei allegedly deceived the US and a global bank about its relationship with subsidiaries Huawei Device USA and Skycom Tech so it could conduct business with Iran.
"As you can tell from the number and magnitude of charges, Huawei and its senior executives repeatedly refused to respect the laws of the United States and standard international business practices," said Christopher Wray, the FBI director.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang described the charges as an unreasonable suppression of Chinese companies. He also urged the US to lift its arrest warrant against Meng.
"The United States has been using state power to smear and attack specific Chinese enterprises, destroying the legitimate operations of the companies," Geng said. "There is strong political motivation and manipulation behind it. China is determined to protect legitimate rights of Chinese companies."