Huawei pleaded "not guilty" to all 13 counts of an indictment filed against the company by the United States government earlier this year. The move marks the first development in a case whose existence only became known in late January after a federal court in New York unsealed the attorney general's lawsuit targeting the Chinese firm.
Not only is Huawei's U.S. arm accused of wire fraud and bank fraud but its Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is specifically named in the litigation, with stateside prosecutors apparently having reason to believe the 47-year-old not only directed and oversaw those illegal activities but participated in them personally. In addition to the aforementioned charges which Ms. Meng is facing as an individual, she has also been accused of a conspiracy to commit various frauds, though not always successfully.
According to heavily redacted court documents previously issued by a Vancouver court where Ms. Meng is presently trying to fight off Washington's attempts to have her extradited, the prosecution can prove at least one instance of Ms. Meng telling lies that heavily misrepresented Huawei's relationship with Skycom Tech, a former Hong Kong electronics firm with a commercial presence in Iran.
Huawei is accused of leveraging that asset in order to circumvent stateside trade embargoes imposed on the Middle Eastern country, which is something the government is particularly wary of, especially when it comes to technologies such as handsets and tablets which inevitably use some American components; parts that trade embargoes are meant to stop from being freely delivered to a hostile or otherwise unfavorable nation. While Huawei continues to insist Skycom has been nothing but a business partner since the turn of this decade, previous reports claim the firm organized a fake divestment in order to distance itself from the perception it's building a media and tech empire like no other.
Huawei dismissed Washington's allegations as baseless immediately after they were publicized as the Shenzen-based firm continues to argue the U.S. is simply afraid of how amazing its technology is and consequently wants to prevent it from gaining a foothold in its backyard because that would essentially be a move against American firms and allied entities. Huawei officials are always happy to point out that the firm experienced no major security breaches to date, as well. And while that claim is highly debatable as Huawei certainly doesn't lack in the bizarre-and-unexpected department, one of the things that aren't is China's legal framework regulating state-sponsored intelligence gathering activities.
According to several recently revised laws, there' are exactly zero things Huawei could do if Chinese intelligence set its sights on strong-arming it in exchange for information. Being the world's largest manufacturer of telecom equipment, Huawei has no shortage of customers that could end up being compromised by China's communist state apparatus, assuming that's not already happening.
That's pretty much what Huawei's case comes down to; no, the Internet juggernaut was never caught actively spying on its clients on behalf of Beijing but the possibility of such a grim scenario doesn't simply exist – it's codified in China's core group of laws used for oppressive policies and policy enforcement. Not only are Huawei's close ties to Beijing a concern for many but the company's consistent refusal to share concrete info about its convoluted corporate structure and operations unsurprisingly made the U.S. and its allies even more suspicious of it.
The next hearing in the federal government's case against Huawei is scheduled for April 4. In the meantime, representatives of the two sides should meet once again over a counter-lawsuit Huawei filed earlier this month, maintaining it's left with no other choice regarding such unfair behavior on the U.S. part. In the meantime, Washington-Beijing relations continue to deteriorate as the Far Eastern country is now openly attacking the American political leadership, threatening its allies, and sentencing people to death in response to Ms. Meng's arrest.