USA officials have briefed allies that Huawei is ultimately at the beck and call of the Chinese state, while warning that its network equipment may contain "back doors" that could open them up to cyber espionage. Between allegations of spying, executives being arrested, and more, you wouldn't think that there could be any additional bad blood between the two. Now, a new report published this afternoon by The Wall Street Journal, reveals that Federal prosecutors are planning to start a criminal investigation of Huawei because of its alleged theft of T-Mobile's tech secrets.
The newspaper says investigators are looking into whether the company stole technology behind a robotic device that T-Mobile used to test smartphones.
According to T-Mobile's lawsuit, Huawei employees photographed the robot and attempted to remove one of its parts.
The jury sided with T-Mobile in 2017, saying the theft resulted in Huawei making "hundreds of millions of dollars" from T-Mobile's technology. Huawei also maintains it was an isolated incident that involved two employees who acted inappropriately.
Earlier this week, Huawei's billionaire founder Ren Zhengfei broke years of silence to dismiss USA accusations that the company helps spy for China's government. Recently, he broke that silence ...
The Handelsblatt daily reported earlier that the German government was actively considering stricter security requirements and other ways to exclude Huawei from the buildout of 5G mobile networks.
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The investigation is at an advanced stage and an indictment could come soon, one of the people said.
Emily Langlie, a spokeswoman for the US Attorney's office in Seattle, declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Huawei.
The Chinese company has already become a major part of the trade dispute between the USA and China.
In 2014, United States telecommunication service provider T-Mobile filed a suit against Huawei for unlawful theft of trade secrets and was eventually awarded US$4.8 million in a jury trial. She is awaiting extradition hearings to the USA while living under restrictions in her million-dollar Vancouver home.
The company was founded by Ren Zhengfei, a former officer in the People's Liberation Army.
A group of bipartisan senators on Wednesday introduced a bill prohibiting the export of US-produced parts and components to telecommunication companies in China that have violated United States sanctions, Congressman Mike Gallaher's press office said in a release. As part of the agreement, the USA lifted a ban in place since April that prevented ZTE from buying the US components it heavily relies on to make smartphones and other devices.