Federal prosecutors are reportedly launching an investigation into Huawei over allegations it stole trade secrets from US companies.
Those trade secrets include technology related to a robotic device that T-Mobile used to test smartphones, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The probe is “at an advanced stage” the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
An indictment could come soon, the Journal added.
The Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Huawei declined to comment.
The allegations are reportedly related to a 2014 lawsuit between China’s Huawei and T-Mobile. A jury in 2017 ruled that Huawei misappropriated T-Mobile’s trade secrets and awarded $4.8 million to T-Mobile, according to FierceWireless. Although Huawei lost the case, the jury reportedly didn’t find Huawei’s misappropriation as “willful and malicious” as T-Mobile alleged.
The probe comes at a tense time for the US and the Chinese telecom giant. Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, last month was arrested in Canada at the request of US authorities. Also the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, Meng faced extradition to the US over alleged Iran sanctions violations.
Earlier this month, a Huawei employee was arrested in Poland for allegedly spying for China. The employee is the company’s sales director for public-sector clients in Poland. He was arrested with a former Polish security agent who worked for Orange Polska, the local branch of a French telecom. Huawei dismissed the arrested sales director following the incident.