The Current

From robots to fraudulent badges, key details illuminate U.S. allegations against Huawei

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced 13 criminal charges against the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, its CFO Meng Wanzhou, and its affiliates in the U.S. and Hong Kong. We take a look at the charges and what happens next with the extradition process, amid the diplomatic row it's sparked between China and Canada.

Criminal charges against Chinese telecom giant have not been proven in court

The U.S. has filed a formal request with Canada for Meng Wanzhou's extradition. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
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The colour and strength of detail in the U.S. government's criminal allegations against Huawei will give the public a stronger sense of what the U.S. has been claiming about the company for years, says a Washington Post reporter.

Among the allegations, the U.S. is accusing employees of Huawei of using fraudulent badges to access trade secrets from competitor T-Mobile.

"In one case, they allege a representative from Huawei … stole the robotic arm of this little robot, took away the arm, kept it for a night, and is accused of sending pictures back to headquarters to help Huawei gain … competitive information about how T-Mobile was doing its business," Emily Rauhala told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

The robot, called Tappy, is used to test phone prototypes for their responsiveness, and catch software bugs, according to Business Insider.

Rauhala, a staff writer for the Washington Post, covers Canada and foreign affairs, has been closely following the Huawei case.

U.S. lobs list of criminal charges

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced 13 criminal charges against the Chinese telecom giant, its CFO Meng Wanzhou, and its affiliates in the U.S. and Hong Kong.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker announced criminal charges against Meng and other Huawei executives on Monday. (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

The charges are for bank and wire fraud. None of them have been proven in court.

The U.S. has also filed a formal request with Canada for Meng's extradition. Meng was arrested in Vancouver in December, and is currently free on bail.

"It's now quite clear that Ms. Meng was … one piece of a broader picture," said Rauhala.

"This gives the public a much broader sense of what this type of behavior might look like, and I think that will have an impact on the company."

To hear more about the charges Huawei is facing, and the extradition request for Meng, Tremonti spoke to:

  • Emily Rauhala, staff writer for the Washington Post, covering Canada and foreign affairs, and the Huawei case.
  • Seth Weinstein, a lawyer at Greenspan Humphrey Weinstein, and author of Prosecuting and Defending Extradition Cases: A Practitioner's Handbook.

Click listen near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.


Produced by Howard Goldenthal, Ines Colabrese and John Chipman.

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