WASHINGTON • Chinese technology giant Huawei has been hit with fresh US criminal charges alleging a "decades-long" effort to steal trade secrets from American companies.
A US indictment unsealed in New York alleges Huawei and its proxies conspired "to misappropriate intellectual property" from six US firms as part of a strategy to grow and become the world's largest telecommunications equipment-maker.
The new charges, including a federal racketeering allegation, add to an indictment unsealed in January last year that alleged Huawei stole trade secrets from United States carrier T-Mobile.
The indictment names Huawei and several subsidiaries, as well as the company's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who has been arrested in Canada over a related probe into Huawei's violations of US sanctions.
Huawei called the latest charges "unfounded and unfair" and predicted the case would be dismissed.
"This new indictment is part of the Justice Department's attempt to irrevocably damage Huawei's reputation and business for reasons related to competition rather than law enforcement," it said.
Huawei, one of the world's largest tech firms, has been blacklisted by Washington amid concerns over its ties to the Chinese government and intelligence services.
The sanctions are aimed at blocking Huawei from getting any US telecoms equipment contracts and preventing the transfer of American technology to the Chinese firm.
But on Thursday, the US Commerce Department delayed the implementation of some sanctions for an additional 45 days, saying it would help avoid disruption for certain telecoms firms as they seek alternatives to Huawei.
China yesterday repeated previous allegations that the US treatment of Huawei amounted to "economic bullying". A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said: "We urge the US to immediately cease its unreasonable oppression of Chinese enterprises."