US charges China’s Huawei, top executive with bank fraud

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Tuesday 29 January 2019 (RBB News) – The US Department of Justice has filed a series of criminal charges against Chinese tech giant Huawei, two of its subsidiaries and top executive Meng Wanzhou, who are accused of misleading banks about the company’s business and violating US sanctions against Iran.

The company is also charged in a separate indictment with stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile, US federal prosecutors said on Monday.

The two cases are likely to ratchet up tensions between the United States and China, which are already embroiled in a bitter trade war.

The US fully reimposed sanctions against Iran last year after President Donald Trump announced Washington’s withdrawal from a multinational nuclear deal, saying it was not firm enough to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

In a statement on Tuesday, Huawei denied the charges against it, adding it had asked to discuss the investigation with US prosecutors following Meng’s arrest, but that request was rejected.

The company said it is “not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms Meng, and believes the US courts will ultimately reach the same conclusion”.

Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of the company’s founder, has also denied any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, China’s foreign ministry decried the “political manipulations” behind the US government’s case against Huawei.

“For some time, the US has used state power to discredit and crack down on specific Chinese companies in an attempt to strangle the enterprises’ legitimate and legal operations,” the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

“There are strong political motivations and political manipulations behind the actions.”

Wen Ku, a senior information and communications officer at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, told a news conference in Beijing the US indictments were “unfair and immoral”.

Einar Tangen, a political analyst and investment banker who advises the Chinese government on economic and development issues, said within China the charges are seen as “a tactical ploy” by Trump amid the trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

“From Donald Trump’s point of view, it makes good tactics to try to put your opponent off. Unfortunately for him, China was kind of expecting this – they are still not happy about it but in the end this is just political theatre,” Tangen told Al Jazeera from Beijing, warning however that US move could cause a backlash in China itself.

“Huawei is massively popular, they have overtaken the crown as the number one provider of cellphones in China, and Chinese consumers might react to this by saying, ‘well, if they are going to attack our companies, we will stop buying American goods”

Source: Aljazeera

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