Huawei Under Federal Probe Over New Allegations of Tech Theft: WSJ

Huawei Under Federal Probe Over New Allegations of Tech Theft: WSJ
Employees work at a Huawei store in Dongguan, China, on Aug. 9, 2019. (Fred DufourAFP/Getty Images)
U.S. prosecutors are investigating new instances of alleged technology theft by Chinese telecommunication equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co., the Wall Street Journal reported on Aug. 29, citing people familiar with the matter.

Huawei is accused of stealing intellectual property from individuals and companies over several years, and recruiting employees from its rivals, the report added.

When contacted by Reuters, a spokesman for prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York declined to comment.

The inquiries suggest that the U.S. government is investigating aspects of Huawei’s business practices that weren’t covered in indictments of the Chinese company issued earlier this year, the WSJ report said.

The probe includes the alleged theft of a smartphone-camera design from a Portuguese entrepreneur as well as its practice of recruiting former workers of rival companies, the report said.

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and federal attorneys approached the Portuguese entrepreneur Rui Pedro Oliveira in early June, according to the report.

Oliveira previously told The Epoch Times that Huawei stole his invention for a 360-degree smartphone-attachable camera following a meeting with company executives in Texas in 2014 to discuss licensing opportunities.

The entrepreneur said he had been negotiating with Huawei’s lawyers to resolve the dispute over the past year, but was left blindsided when the tech giant sued him in March, in a court filing that said it did not infringe Oliveira’s patents.

According to WSJ, investigators also interviewed Robert Read, a former contract engineer at Huawei’s Sweden office from 2002 to 2003. Read previously told the outlet that he had helped the company recruit laid-off workers from Ericsson AB, the communications equipment manufacturer. He also said the Sweden office had an electronically-secured basement where Huawei would keep foreign-made equipment, which company staff would try to reverse-engineer.

In January, the U.S. Justice Department charged Huawei and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, with conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran by doing business with Tehran through a subsidiary it tried to hide.

In a separate federal indictment, prosecutors have accused Huawei of stealing trade secrets, committing wire fraud, and obstructing justice for allegedly stealing tech from mobile carrier T-Mobile concerning its robot nicknamed “Tappy,” which was designed to test smartphones’ touchscreen capabilities.

In that case, prosecutors also allege that the company established a bonus program to reward employees who stole confidential information from competitors.

Huawei was not immediately available for a Reuters request for comment.

Epoch Times staff Cathy He contributed to this report.