War in the techno-weeds and macro oil


In a pair of cases unsealed Monday, federal prosecutors accused Huawei of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran and of stealing trade secrets from a U.S. business partner, portraying the company as a serial violator of American laws and global business practices.

The charges contained in separate indictments in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Washington state were detailed by senior officials from the departments of Justice, Commerce and Homeland Security on the day the government reopened after a 35-day shutdown — and just two days before negotiators for the U.S. and China are to discuss trade issues in Washington, D.C.

The U.S.’s escalating, global campaign against Huawei has drawn in allies and enraged Beijing — which has detained a series of foreign citizens in recent weeks on suspicion of endangering China’s national security in what analysts view as retaliatory measures. Chinese officials have denied any links between the detentions in China and the pressure on Huawei.

In the newly unsealed indictments, the U.S. alleged Huawei, its finance chief and other employees worked over years to deceive multiple global banks and the U.S. government about its business in Iran. The indictment charged Huawei and two affiliates with bank fraud, violations of U.S. sanctions and conspiring to obstruct justice related to the grand jury investigation.

The U.S. also unsealed charges in the separate case accusing Huawei of stealing information from T-Mobile US Inc. about a phone-testing robot, “Tappy.” That 10-count indictment was returned by a grand jury on Jan. 16. That investigation, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, grew in part out of civil lawsuits against Huawei, including one in which a Seattle jury found Huawei liable for misappropriating robotic technology from T-Mobile’s Bellevue, Wash., lab, according to people familiar with the matter.

Huawei offered bonuses to employees who were successful in stealing confidential information from other companies, U.S. prosecutors alleged.

Despite being the world’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment and second-largest smartphone vendor behind Samsung Electronics Co., Huawei has been effectively locked out of the U.S. market since a 2012 congressional report raised concerns that its gear could be used to spy on Americans. U.S. officials have also long voiced concerns that Huawei steals technology and improperly makes use of government subsidies to fuel its rise.

Huawei has denied the allegations, but the Trump administration in recent months has sharply accelerated its campaign to counter the telecommunications giant’s global expansion as countries around the world rush to lock in contracts for next-generation 5G wireless technology. The 5G tech will make it easier to connect items like cars and appliances to the internet, but it will also render networks more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Governments including Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany and Japan have all recently said they were looking closely at their telecom-equipment supply chain in the wake of the Huawei developments. Australia and New Zealand have restricted Huawei’s involvement in new 5G projects with those countries’ carriers. On Friday, London-based Vodafone Group PLC, the world’s biggest mobile carrier outside China, said it was temporarily halting purchases of some components made by Huawei, citing uncertainty over whether governments in Europe would shun the firm because of national-security concerns.

Last month, Canadian authorities arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou at the request of U.S. authorities. Ms. Meng, the daughter of company founderRen Zhengfei, was accused of misleading banks about the nature of Huawei’s business in Iran, leading to violations of U.S. sanctions on the country. Ms. Meng has denied the charges and is fighting extradition. Huawei says it follows the law in all countries where it operates.

Following Ms. Meng’s arrest, Chinese authorities detained two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, on national-security grounds. They also issued a death sentence to a Canadian on drug-smuggling charges after a speedy retrial. Analysts viewed it as an attempt by Beijing to force Canada to release Ms. Meng. Chinese officials have said there is no connection. Similarly, Beijing last week said an Australian writer who went missing while traveling in the country had been detained on suspicions of threatening state security.

Separately, Polish authorities earlier this month arrested Huawei executive Wang Weijing and charged him with conducting espionage on behalf of the Chinese government. Huawei wasn’t accused of wrongdoing in that case, and the company quickly terminated Mr. Wang’s employment.

Shortly after Poland publicized the charges, Mr. Ren, Huawei’s founder, made a rare appearance before international media at the company’s headquarters in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, seeking to directly confront the snowballing concerns. Mr. Ren said Huawei hasn’t — and would never — spy on behalf of the Chinese government.


The Trump administration imposed sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company. In an interview Monday before the sanctions were announced, Mr. Guaidó said his nascent government was making every effort it could to get control of Venezuela’s international assets — and mainly the state oil company. “They have the bureaucracy of this country kidnapped, they direct this bureaucracy,” he said, referring to Mr. Maduro and his control of Pdvsa. Mr. Guaidó said the National Assembly estimated that $30 billion had gone missing from the oil company. the half-million barrels sent to the United States daily has been a critical source of revenue and foreign currency for Mr. Maduro’s government. “U.S. oil exports are where Venezuela gets its cash flow,” Mr. Dallen said.

Serious times getting more serious. Hey, let’s get President AOC to deal with these things!

One Response to “War in the techno-weeds and macro oil”

  1. feeblemind Says:

    re Hey, let’s get President AOC to deal with these things!

    I fear we may live to see a President AOC become reality.

    The train is rolling downgrade with no brakes. Can’t jump off. The bridge spanning the chasm at the bottom of the grade is gone. It’s one scary ride with a terrible crash coming at the end.

Leave a Reply