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Trade War

Huawei under US probe for allegedly stealing trade secrets

Investigation is tied to 2014 civil case brought by wireless carrier T-Mobile

Huawei is under investigation for stealing trade secrets against T-Mobile. (Photo by Kosaku Mimura)

NEW YORK -- The U.S. government is investigating Huawei Technologies for allegedly stealing trade secrets from American companies, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The Chinese telecommunications equipment maker could face an indictment soon, according to the report.

U.S. authorities are looking at a 2014 case in which cellphone service provider T-Mobile US filed a civil suit against Huawei claiming that the Chinese company stole trade secrets.

Huawei was found to have allegedly stolen secrets related to a smartphone testing robot dubbed "Tappy" that was developed by T-Mobile. During that time, T-Mobile was conducting business with Huawei and said employees of the Chinese company took pictures without its permission of the device and attempted to remove certain parts.

T-Mobile won its civil case against the Chinese company in 2017, and Huawei was ordered to pay $4.8 million in damages.

The U.S. Department of Justice has refrained from commenting on the case.

A U.S.-based spokesperson for Huawei told the Nikkei Asian Review that the company would not comment on the latest media reports. Huawei and T-Mobile "settled their disputes in 2017 following a jury verdict finding neither damage, unjust enrichment nor willful and malicious conduct for T-Mobile's trade secret claim," the representative said.

The Shenzhen-based company previously acknowledged that two employees acted improperly in the T-Mobile case.

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