American prosecutors have unveiled criminal charges against Huawei, accusing one of China’s top companies of violating sanctions against Iran and stealing trade secrets.
The 23 charges filed on Monday threatened to escalate tensions between Washington and Beijing just 48 hours before senior Chinese officials were due to fly to the White House for a new round of trade talks.
Matthew Whitaker, the acting US attorney general, said Huawei had attempted to evade sanctions against Iran by setting up a separate company called Skycom, which fraudulently conducted more than $100m (£76m) worth of transactions through the US financial system over four years.
Mr Whitaker said Huawei had lied to the US government to obstruct investigations, moved potential witnesses back to China, and misled banks to continue to process transactions.
In a second set of charges, the Justice Department said the company had attempted to steal technology from the US telecoms network T-Mobile. Employees of a US subsidiary allegedly attempted to steal details of a robot arm named Tappy used to test smartphone touchscreens.