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Meng Wanzhou supporters outside BC Supreme Court. Photo: Rich Lam/Getty Images

The Department of Justice announced Monday it has brought charges against Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the Chinese electronics giant Huawei, related to violating trade sanctions against Iran. A second case announced today involves charges against individuals affiliated with Huawei for stealing intellectual property related to robotics.

Why it matters: The indictment of Meng, the daughter of Huawei's founder, is only one chapter in a book-long series of international disruptions of one of China's biggest businesses. Huawei is currently dealing with international bans on its 5G equipment over potential espionage concerns and recently had a employee arrested in Poland for espionage.

Meng, alongside Huawei and its U.S. subsidiary, is accused of attempting to circumvent sanctions in 2007 by lying about its ownership of the Iranian business Skycom and later lying about selling its interest in Skycom. Huawei is also accused of making false statements to Congress about the deal.

The robotics charge involves a case in which Huawei is accused of stealing the technology and even a physical piece of a T-Mobile robot called "Tappy" that's used to test phones.

China hasn't taken the campaign against Huawei lying down. Canadian authorities arrested Meng and are currently in the legal process of extraditing her to the United States. A number of Canadian citizens were subsequently arrested in China, and in one case, potential penalties in an earlier case were increased to the death penalty, which Ottawa believes is retaliatory.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
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The unicorn stampede is coming

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

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What's next: You ain't seen nothing yet.

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Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.