Friday, June 18, 2021

US seeks to disqualify Huawei defence lawyer in bank fraud case

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US prosecutors on Thursday filed a motion to disqualify the lead defence lawyer for Huawei Technologies from the case against the Chinese company for alleged bank fraud and sanctions violations, according to a filing in US District Court in Brooklyn, New York.

The lawyer, James Cole, is a former deputy attorney general of the United States.

The government did not make public why it is seeking to remove Cole from the case.

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In a letter to the court, prosecutors said they had filed a sealed, classified motion to disqualify Cole and expected to file a public version by May 10.

Huawei pleaded not guilty in March to a 13-count indictment that alleged the world’s largest telecoms equipment maker defrauded US banks by concealing business dealings with Iran in violation of US sanctions.

The company, based in southeastern China in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, and its US unit also are accused of defrauding HSBC and other banks by misrepresenting Huawei’s relationship with the suspected front company, Skycom Tech Co Limited, in Iran.

The lawsuit gained public attention in December with the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou by Canadian authorities in Vancouver, Canada in response to a US request for Meng’s extradition.

Multiple charges were announced against Huawei, Meng and affiliated companies. A federal grand jury in Brooklyn charged Huawei and Meng with money laundering, bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy. Huawei was also charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice.

A separate indictment from Washington state accused Huawei, Skycom and Meng of stealing trade secrets from the telecommunications company T-Mobile.

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The charges stemmed from a civil lawsuit filed by T-Mobile USA in 2014 over a robot nicknamed Tappy that was used in testing smartphones.

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