Huawei accused U.S. authorities on Wednesday of attempting to break into its information systems and of trying to coerce its employees to gather information on the company.
Huawei says that American law enforcement agencies have been instructed by the Trump administration to search, detain, and arrest its employees and several business associates. FBI agents were allegedly sent to the homes of its workers to pressure them into giving away information on their employer.
The company also alleges that US officials have used every avenue possible to disrupt its global operations by denying visas, detaining shipments and reopening civil lawsuits as criminal cases where undercover agents have pretended to be Huawei employees to testify against it in court.
American officials have given no evidence to support claims Huawei might aid Chinese spying, accusations the company denies. The United States, Australia, Japan and some other governments have imposed restrictions on use of Huawei technology.
Huawei’s statement comes just days after the Wall Street Journal reported the Justice Department was conducting an investigation on Huawei for possible theft of US trade secrets. The probe reportedly found that the Chinese giant stole patented smartphone camera technology from Rui Pedro Oliveira.
Huawei denies these claims and explains that Oliveira wanted to extort a large sum of money from the company after the two parties met in 2014 to discuss a potential partnership. The company supposedly declined the offer, and was later threatened by Oliveira that he would use his media and political channels to coerce it into paying for what he alleged was an infringement on his patents.
The company argues that “Mr. Oliveira is taking advantage of the current geopolitical situation” and that the US is using its political and diplomatic might to convince other governments to ban Huawei equipment without offering any evidence for its national security concerns.
Huawei said in a statement:
On May 28, 2014, representatives from Huawei’s US subsidiary met with Mr. Rui Pedro Oliveira per his request. At the meeting, Mr. Oliveira pitched his camera design, which he alleged to have U.S. patent pending, to Huawei. Huawei was not interested in his product and no further contact was made.
Four years later, beginning in April 2018 and continuing through March 2019, Mr. Oliveira began e-mailing Huawei, claiming that the EnVizion360 camera, independently designed and developed by Huawei, had infringed his US patents. In his e-mails, he repeatedly issued threats, saying that if Huawei did not pay an extortionate amount of money, he would go to the media and exert pressure through political channels.
Huawei categorically rejects Mr. Oliveira’s claims of patent infringement, and has provided detailed documents in support of its stance (see visual comparisons of the two products below as example). Nevertheless, Mr. Oliveira proceeded to feed a false narrative to the media in an attempt to tarnish Huawei’s reputation. He made further efforts to exert pressure on Huawei through senior government officials, trying to make the company cede to his demands and hand over large sums of money.
You can read the full statement here.