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Huawei charged with fraud and money laundering

It's only Monday, but the Department of Justice just came out swinging.

In a Jan. 28 afternoon press conference, law enforcement officials announced a series of charges against Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei ranging from fraud to money laundering. The charges follow the Dec. 1 arrest of Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng, who faces the possibility of decades in jail.

SEE ALSO: Arrested Huawei CFO potentially faces decades in jail

"As charged in the indictment, Huawei and its Chief Financial Officer broke U.S. law and have engaged in a fraudulent financial scheme that is detrimental to the security of the United States," Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a press release announcing the charges. "They willfully conducted millions of dollars in transactions that were in direct violation of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, and such behavior will not be tolerated."

The 13-count indictment names Huawei, two Huawei affiliates, and Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng. Meng specifically is charged with wire fraud and bank fraud, as well as conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud.

The Jan. 28 press conference.

Department of Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross added to the condemnation. "Lying, cheating, and stealing are not suitable corporate growth strategies," he noted at the press conference.

At the heart of the case against Huawei is the claim that the company misled regulators about its business dealings with Iran, with Meng allegedly playing a key role in that effort.

"As part of this scheme to defraud," alleges the DOJ press release, "Meng allegedly personally made a presentation in August 2013 to an executive of one of Huawei’s major banking partners in which she repeatedly lied about the relationship between Huawei and Skycom."

Notably, the government's investigation is still ongoing.

UPDATE: Jan. 29, 2019, 5:59 p.m. AEDT China has expressed concern over the charges laid by the Department of Justice. According to Reuters, China’s Foreign Ministry called for the U.S. government to halt what it referred to in a statement as the “unreasonable suppression” of Chinese companies, including Huawei.

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