Huawei produced records ten years ago that appear to show the Chinese company was directly involved in sending U.S. technology parts to Iranian phone companies, Reuters reported Monday.
Reuters’ report cites memos that could give the government more leverage in its legal pursuit of the telecommunications giant. The report comes on the same day The Wall Street Journal reported that Huawei is working to hire public relations experts with ties to the Trump administration.
Huawei used Hewlett-Packard Co as an intermediary to deliver parts to Iran’s largest mobile-phone operator, Reuters reported, citing documents dated December 2010. Another memo two months later reportedly states: “Currently the equipment is delivered to Tehran, and waiting for the custom clearance.”
“Our contract terms prohibited the sale of these products to Iran, and required that our partners comply with all applicable export laws and regulations,” a spokesman for HP Enterprise told Reuters. “This remains true today.”
President Donald Trump is fighting a two-pronged battle against Huawei: His administration is trying to convince allies to steer clear of the Chinese company’s products, while at the same time the Department of Justice is making the case that the company’s chief financial officer violated Iranian sanctions.
The DOJ leveled a 13-count indictment in January 2019 against Huawei and its CFO, Meng Wanzhou, accusing China’s tech behemoth of bank fraud, wire fraud, and violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. Huawei was also charged with conspiring to obstruct justice related to the DOJ’s investigation. The documents in the Monday Reuters report are not cited in the criminal case.
The indictment accuses the company of using Iranian subsidiary Skycom Tech to obtain the prohibited products. (RELATED: Trump Raises Stakes In Fight With Boris Johnson, Says Using Huawei Jeopardizes US Intelligence)
“Huawei could thus attempt to claim ignorance with respect to any illegal act committed by Skycom on behalf of Huawei, including violations of” sanctions, according to the indictment. Skycom, which was registered in Hong Kong, is named as a defendant. Records show it was decommissioned in 2017.
“Due to ongoing legal proceedings, it is not appropriate for Huawei to comment at this time,” a Huawei spokesman told Reuters. He added: “Huawei is committed to comply with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries and regions where we operate, including all export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, U.S., and EU.”
The indictment also cited 2012 and 2013 reports that Skycom suggested in late 2010 to sell millions of dollars worth of HP equipment to Mobile Telecommunication of Iran, Reuters’s report Monday states. Huawei said it never delivered the products, but the documents Reuters published Monday suggest the company delivered some of the equipment.
Meanwhile, another report Monday from TheWSJ shows that Huawei contacted Abbie Lowell — an attorney who represented Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner — to help the company revamp its tarnished image. TheWSJ cited people who are familiar with the Chinese company’s campaign.
The company also hired Michael Esposito in August 2019, according to a disclosure filed with the Senate. Esposito is reportedly a member of Trump Victory, a fundraising committee that includes the president’s reelection campaign, according to the website of his firm, Federal Advocates.
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