HUAWEI HAS PLEADED not guilty to several charges of fraud and theft of industrial secrets in a Seattle courtroom.
Everyone's favourite besieged tech company was responding to a total of 10 accusations against Huawei Device Co and Huawei Device USA (the latter probably doesn't have a lot to do right now). As well as theft and attempted theft of trade secrets, Huawei is also accused of wire fraud and obstructing justice.
If found guilty, the company faces a fine of up to $5m or three-times the value of the secrets it stole - whichever is going to leave them the most out of pocket - though in Huawei terms, its still piddling small change.
The trial will be heard in March 2020, where the court will be told about the alleged theft of details of a robot used by T-Mobile to test its devices. Prosecutors claim that a visiting member of Huawei staff actually detached the robot's arm, measured it, took photos and sent them to the company.
Huawei acknowledged this but claims the worker was not under any remit from the company and was subsequently fired. Whether Huawei immediately disposed of the gathered intelligence and wept about it all the way home is another matter.
This case is in addition to the case against the company's CFO Meng Wanzhou, who is in Canada and awaiting extradition, alleging that Huawei broke sanctions against Iran by channelling funds through a foreign subsidiary. No dates have been set for her removal to the US, or the case itself.
Huawei has found itself on the receiving end of an FBI sting already this year, when a hidden microphone at a CES event recorded staff admitting to exporting a piece of technology to China, violating the terms of an agreement that it should stay on American soil.
The owner of the tech in question, a new type of toughened glass, believes the sample was sent to China for reverse engineering. μ
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