WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Justice is formally levelling 23 criminal charges against Chinese tech juggernaut Huawei Technologies, multiple subsidiaries and chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou.
The charges allege, among other things, that the company misrepresented its ownership of a Hong Kong-based subsidiary to circumvent American sanctions against Iran, and stole telecommunications technology, trade secrets and equipment from U.S. cell provider T-Mobile USA.
Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker says the department is proceeding with its extradition efforts against Meng, who was detained Dec. 1 at the request of the U.S. upon arriving at the airport in Vancouver.
Whitaker and FBI director Christopher Wray both thanked Canadian officials for their help.
Meng’s arrest almost two months ago touched off an ongoing diplomatic furor that resulted Sunday in the firing of John McCallum as Canada’s ambassador to China after he publicly expressed confidence in her ability to fight extradition to the United States.
News of the charges comes just as the White House is making plans for a team of high-level economic advisers to meet a delegation from China later this week to talk trade between the two countries.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will take part in the two days of talks beginning Wednesday, along with the president’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow and trade adviser Peter Navarro.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders says the two developments are unrelated.