The long-simmering dispute between the U.S. government and Huawei reached a boil today (Jan. 28), as federal prosecutors filed charges against the Chinese phone maker alleging fraud and trade secret theft.
The charges come from separate cases filed in U.S. District Courts in New York and Washington, respectively. The 13-count filing in Brooklyn against Huawei and its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou accuses the company of committing bank and wire fraud to circumvent U.S. sanctions against Iran that prohibit the export of goods and technologies originating from the U.S.
The 10-count indictment in Seattle alleges that Huawei stole trade secrets from T-Mobile related to a smartphone-testing robot developed the carrier.
Today's indictments come following reports that federal prosecutors had been investigating Huawei on allegations of trade secret theft from American companies.
Tensions have been on the rise between Huawei and the U.S. government for some time, with government officials citing concerns that Huawei equipment could be used by the Chinese government for spying.
AT&T and Verizon reportedly dropped plans to offer Huawei's Mate 10 smartphone last year after being pressured by the U.S. government. And that proved to be a big blow to Huawei's plans to expand its phone business in the U.S., as the majority of smartphones bought in this country are sold through wireless carriers. Huawei has released a couple of high-end flagships since then, include the Huawei P20 and Mate 20, but none of those have been offered to U.S. consumers.
The two court cases against Huawei come as the Trump administration has pushed a trade war against China, imposing tariffs on a number of goods. China has retaliated with tariffs of its own.
Meng was arrested in December in Canada at the behest of the U.S., which is attempting to extradite her.