Huawei: New charges of corporate spying
The Justice Department unveiled sweeping criminal charges against the telecom firm Huawei this week, in a move “likely to intensify trade tensions between the United States and China,” said Ellen Nakashima and Devlin Barrett in The Washington Post. A 13-count indictment accuses Huawei, the world’s largest maker of communications equipment, and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, with bank and wire fraud and technology theft, as well as the Iran sanctions violations the U.S. disclosed earlier. The indictments landed as Chinese negotiators were arriving in Washington for trade talks. China fired back, calling the charges politically motivated and “unreasonable.”
The telecom giant is “caught in the crossfire” of “a wider geopolitical struggle to contain a rising China,” said Michael Schuman in Bloomberg.com. But “let’s face it: Huawei’s sinking reputation isn’t merely a victim of geopolitics.” The list of scandals and accusations tainting the firm is long, including stealing technology from Cisco, Motorola, and T-Mobile. The charges suggest that the company paid bonuses for such thefts, a signal that the malfeasance begins at the top. Huawei can no longer “paint itself as an entirely innocent victim,” and if it doesn’t fix its management, more and more companies will refuse to do business with it.