On Thursday, the US Attorney’s Office revealed that Huawei officials had been spying on Huawei executives to gather evidence that the company had stalled the country’s trade blockade of Iran.
The revelation was made by prosecutor Alex Solomon during a hearing in Brooklyn Federal Court. He revealed that the evidence of such espionage was achieved through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a law enacted in 1978 that sets out procedures for collecting information and surveillance of foreign agents, and would therefore require the court to classify all the evidence delivered as confidential.
Along with the disclosure in court, the US government notified Huawei that it intended to use this information through electronic surveillance and physical searches, but did not disclose further details of when or where such searches took place.
Since last year, the US government has been pushing its allies to stop using Huawei products as they suspect the company has helped the Chinese government spy on Western countries’ communications. And it is precisely for this reason that the country has obtained authorization from FISA to spy on executives of the Chinese company, as there were years ago the suspicion that the equipment of the company was being used by a foreign government to spy the communications of the country.
In the case being tried in the Brooklyn Court, the US government accuses Huawei and the company’s CFO Meng Wanzhou of conspiring to commit bank fraud at HSBC Holdings Plc and other banks in the country, as well as lying about company relationship with Skycom Tech Co Ltd, a technology company that can be a front company for Huawei to do business with the Iranian government.
Last month, Huawei claimed to be innocent of the 13 breaches accused by the US government, asserting that Skycom was only a local trading partner of Huawei. Despite this, prosecutors say they have obtained evidence that the company is a facade used to hide the Chinese company’s negotiations with Iran.
Already the company’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou, is still held in a Canadian jail and is awaiting trial on an extradition proceeding that will decide whether the country will send her to the U.S. justice system or allow her to return to China.
So far, Huawei has not commented on the fact that US prosecutors claim to have evidence that Skycom is a frontrunner company of the Chinese company. The next hearing date is set for June 19, when it will likely be revealed just how incriminating the evidence actually collected by US intelligence agencies is.