Sources from CNN said that US federal prosecutors are reportedly working on a criminal investigation into Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
According to CNN, Investigators are looking into whether the firm stole trade secrets from US business partners, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing unnamed sources.
The Journal reported that the probe was spurred in part by civil litigation between Huawei, which makes phones and other telecom equipment, and T-Mobile. T-Mobile (TMUS) had accused Huawei of stealing information related to a robot used for testing mobile phones.
The Journal reported that the criminal probe is at an “advanced stage.”
Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of telecommunications equipment, declined to comment directly on the report. But it said in a statement that the disputes with T-Mobile were settled in 2017 “following a jury verdict finding neither damage, unjust enrichment nor willful and malicious conduct for T-Mobile’s trade secret claim.”
CNN reported that the Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN Business. It declined to comment to The Wall Street Journal.
The report was published one day after the reclusive founder of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, shrugged off allegations from Washington that Huawei is a threat to US national security.
He denied allegations from the Trump administration and US intelligence agencies that Beijing could use Huawei equipment to snoop on Americans. The company has also been prevented from supplying next-generation 5G equipment to Australia and New Zealand.
In another sign of the suspicion Huawei faces in Washington, a group of US lawmakers on Wednesday introduced
legislation aimed at tightening the rules for Chinese telecommunications companies.
The proposed law, the Telecommunications Denial Order Enforcement Act, would ban the sale of US parts to any Chinese telecom firm that has violated US export control laws or sanctions.
Canada had last year arrested Meng Wanzhou Huawei’s chief financial officer it plans to extradite to the US to answer to criminal charges that violated America’s sanctions on Iran.