Chinese personal technology conglomerate Huawei has been charged with conspiracy for racketeering and plotting to steal business secrets from its crucial business competitors. The Department of Justice accused Huawei and its two U.S. subsidiaries of having a "long-running practice of using fraud and deception to misappropriate sophisticated technology from U.S. counterparts". Alongside Huawei, other accused companies are Huawei Device USA Inc, Futurewei Technologies Inc, Skycom Tech and its CFO Wanzhou Meng.
The indictment did not reveal the key six competitors. Still, an NYT report hints the companies could be Motorola Solutions, Fujitsu, Cisco Systems, Quintel Technology, CNEX Labs, and T-Mobile.
The alleged conspiracy theory
Following an independent investigation, the U.S. government claimed Huawei and its affiliates have a malversate intellectual property such as business secret information and copyrighted works, such as source code and user manuals for internet routers, antenna technology and robot testing technology.
The U.S. government has alleged that Huawei has rolled out a business policy to encourage its employees to snitch trade secrets from its key competitors. "The policy made clear that employees who provided valuable information were to be financially rewarded," said justice.gov.
The statement claimed the authorities of Huawei have contradicted many of its comments while confronted by U.S. officials and FBI agents.
The Justice Department has claimed that Huawei is carrying out such conspiracies against its competitors since 1999. However, Huawei officials have reportedly trashed all the allegations claiming they are confident of coming out clean.
A few instances
The indictment cites many alleged incidents to show how Huawei has been proactively stealing sensitive trade secrets.
For instance, it 2004, a Huawei employee flew to a trade show based in Chicago who was allegedly found taking circuit photographs of competitors' devices in the middle of the night. At the time of the incident, the person was wearing a badge reading Weihua, the anagram of Huawei.
In another incident, Huawei allegedly asked competitor companies executives for a presentation about their yet-to-be-released storage technology. Huawei later asked for the presentation slides and shared the images with its engineers immediately.
The Iran connection
The indictment also claims that Huawei has helped the Iranian government in 2009 to track the activities of anti-government protesters in Tehran.
The company was sued many times by competitors including Quintel, Cisco, T-Mobile and Motorola. Meng Wanzhou, CFO, Huawei was sued last year by the Justice Department. Though she managed to get bail by paying a whopping $7.5 million, she is under 24-hour observation with a GPS tracker tied to her ankle.