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Huawei hits back at criminal charges against CFO Meng Wanzhou

Huawei has hit back at criminal charges laid down by US authorities last night alleging the Chinese firm violated sanctions against Iran and stole trade secrets from T-Mobile.

The company’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was detained by Canadian officials on 1 December in a move that marked the most serious in a series of escalations between her employer and the US.

On Monday night, Wanzhou was charged with using a subsidiary company in an attempt to violate sanctions prohibiting firms from doing business with Iran. In a separate indictment, Huawei was also accused of stealing robotic technology from T-Mobile, which the firm said was the focus of a dispute that was settled two years ago.

A Huawei spokesperson told NS Tech that the company had sought to discuss the investigation with the US justice department after Wanzhou’s arrest, but that “the request was rejected without explanation”.

“The company denies that it or its subsidiary or affiliate have committed any of the asserted violations of U.S. law set forth in each of the indictments, is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng, and believes the U.S. courts will ultimately reach the same conclusion,” the spokesperson added.

The charges provoked a furious response from China’s foreign ministry, which described the indictments as “unfair and immoral” and accused the US of “unreasonable suppression” of Huawei.

Meanwhile, the lawyer representing Wanzhou – who is the daughter of the founder of the Chinese tech giant – warned that she should “not be a pawn or a hostage in this relationship. [She] is an ethical and honorable businesswoman who has never spent a second of her life plotting to violate any U.S. law, including the Iranian sanctions.”

The indictments are likely to overshadow a fresh round of trade talks between the US and China this week, which many had hoped would pave the way for a breakthrough between the two economic superpowers.

China suspects that Wanzhou’s detention and possible extradition to the US are politically motivated, a suspicion US president Donald Trump lent weight to last month when he said he would be happy to intervene in her case if it helped the two countries reach a deal. Canada’s ambassador to China was fired over the weekend after claiming Wanzhou had a strong case against the US, citing Trump’s remarks.