The U.S. Department of Justice is adding new charges to its criminal case against Chinese technology giant Huawei.
In a statement issued on Thursday afternoon, the Justice Department said it is adding racketeering charges to the series of counts filed against Huawei last year.
It is also now facing further allegations of conspiring to steal corporate secrets.
The new details came in the form of a 16-count superseding indictment filed in a New York federal court which replaced the 13-count indictment previously filed against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, Huawei and its subsidiaries.
Those original charges include conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, violating the act, money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Investigators allege that Huawei, four subsidiaries and Meng were involved in a “decades-long effort” in both the U.S. and China to “misappropriate intellectual property, including from six U.S. technology companies, in an effort to grow and operate Huawei’s business.”
“The misappropriated intellectual property included trade secret information and copyrighted works, such as source code and user manuals for internet routers, antenna technology and robot testing technology,” a press release issued on the expanded indictment reads.
“Huawei, Huawei USA and Futurewei agreed to reinvest the proceeds of this alleged racketeering activity in Huawei’s worldwide business, including in the United States.”
The indictment also alleges that the defendants “made repeated misstatements” to American officials about the evidence included in the case.
It goes on to argue that the defendants also “engaged in obstructive conduct” to try and frustrate criminal prosecution.
“For example, an official Huawei manual labeled “top secret” instructed certain individuals working for Huawei to conceal their employment with Huawei during encounters with foreign law enforcement officials,” the court filing states.
As a result, investigators say Huawei gained a “significant and unfair competitive advantage.”
The charges come as tensions between Canada and China remain at an all-time high.
Canada arrested Meng in December 2018 on a U.S. extradition request.
Department of Justice officials announced the following month they were charging Meng and her company with 23 counts ranging from bank fraud to money laundering and obstruction of justice.
In what is widely viewed as retaliation for Meng’s arrest, China arrested Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
While Meng has been free on bail and living in her Vancouver mansion since her arrest, Kovrig and Spavor have been denied access to lawyers and granted only limited consular access.
As part of the superseding indictment, investigators also revealed new details of how they allege Meng, Huawei and its subsidiaries skirted the sanctions placed on countries including Iran and North Korea by the U.S., the United Nations and the European Union.
That allegedly included the use of code names.
“Reflecting the inherent sensitivity of conducting business in jurisdictions subject to sanctions, internal Huawei documents allegedly referred to such jurisdictions with code names,” the indictment states.
“For example, the code ‘A2’ referred to Iran, and ‘A9’ referred to North Korea.”
Prosecutors also claimed that one of the subsidiaries named in the indictment helped the Iranian regime spy on its own people during protests in 2009.
Those protests turned bloody when the Revolutionary Guard and regime loyalists fired on protesters, killing dozens.
More to come.
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