The US raised the stakes in its battle with Huawei Technologies, using a law historically associated with prosecuting mafia figures to claim the Chinese company engaged in decades of intellectual property theft, reported Caixin.
Huawei, the world’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment, and Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou had already faced criminal charges. The fresh allegations, announced Thursday, up the ante by including racketeering conspiracy, increasing the potential punishment. They come as the global battle for supremacy in fifth-generation wireless technology, or 5G, is joined.
Huawei broke the law “to drastically cut its research and development costs and associated delays, giving the company a significant and unfair competitive advantage,” the Justice Department said in a statement. The company even launched a bonus program to reward employees who got their hands on confidential information from competitors, prosecutors said.
Huawei, in turn, has accused the US of orchestrating a campaign to intimidate its employees and launching cyberattacks to infiltrate its internal network. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urged the US to “stop unreasonably targeting Huawei and other Chinese enterprises.”