The Justice Department brought 23 separate charges on Monday against Huawei, China’s dominant telecommunications equipment manufacturer. The indictments cover intellectual property theft, violations of sanctions on selling equipment to Iran, and obstruction of the investigation. Sabrina Meng, daughter of Huawei’s founder, who is being held at U.S. request in Canada, was charged with fraud in misleading banks about Huawei’s business with Iran.
Why it matters: The criminal charges help validate U.S. accusations that China systematically steals valuable technology and that its companies sell sensitive equipment to repressive regimes such as Iran. Although not unexpected, they come on the eve of high-level trade negotiations in Washington with China this week, and will probably slow down the Chinese effort to close a deal.