Chinese tech giant Huawei today denied the claim of the United States government that its equipment for military mobile networks could be used for spying, saying it has no links to any government and can’t do so now or in the future.
The US Department of Justice indicted five Chinese military officers and four companies in an operation that has been going on for five years.
The charges include violations of US export controls and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, stealing trade secrets and unlawfully selling telecom equipment to Iran.
The firms listed in the indictment are Shenzhen-based Huawei Technologies, Hong Kong-listed HiSilicon and three Huawei subsidiaries: Aliyun, a maker of mobile broadband hardware, and Huawei Device International, which buys parts from other chip manufacturers and has included the US.
“Huawei complies with all applicable export control and sanctions laws and regulations of the United Nations, the US and EU,” company spokesperson William Plummer said.
Huawei has often been accused of conducting business in sensitive areas, from cyber espionage to providing access to some of the world’s most extensive surveillance and monitoring networks.
Plummer said that Huawei isn’t convinced by reports to the contrary.
“We have seen no evidence to date that suggests any communications from Huawei to government officials — including regarding intelligence or national security matters — have ever been disclosed to US investigators,” he said.
Huawei was criticized last year for refusing to release any information on security chiefs at subsidiaries in the US, claiming that doing so would compromise sensitive security positions.
The five defendants are Cheng Wang, Zhang Qingyang, Zhang Zhongtian, He Chunlong and Hu Chunhua, all said to be former Huawei employees.
Zhang Zhiyu, head of Huawei Device International and one of the company’s founders, made some of the most serious accusations against US company Ericsson over its alleged involvement in a spy ring.
Ericsson is implicated in the case in a 2012 lawsuit brought by Huawei. It says that Huawei gained insight into Ericsson’s internal communications into confidential projects.
Although Washington is unlikely to proceed in the Huawei case any time soon, it has broken ranks with Australia over national security concerns and forced out an offer of aid to buy rival mobile network equipment maker Nokia.