US takes another shot at Huawei by charging Chinese professor with fraud

Huawei, the embattled Chinese telecom equipment maker, has taken another shot by the US government which has charged a Chinese professor with fraud for supposedly stealing technology from a California company to benefit Huawei.

According to court documents, US prosecutors arrested Bo Mao, on August 14, 2019, an associate professor at Xiamen University in Xiamen, Fujian, China, who became a visiting professor at a Texas university last fall, and then six days later was released on a $100,000 bond after he consented to proceed with the case in New York.

In Brooklyn, NY, in US district court on August 28th, Mao pleaded not guilty to charges that he conspired to commit wire fraud. 

Mao supposedly made an agreement with the California company to obtain the company’s circuit board for the purpose of academic research, but instead turned it over to a Chinese company to study, according to the criminal charges.

However the criminal complaint charges an unidentified Chinese telecom group which is assumed by some sources to be Huawei as well of an attempt to steal technology and the criminal complaint alleges that Mao had played a part in the whole scheme. Other court documents shows an indication that this case involves Huawei.

These charges against Mao has its roots in an original lawsuit filed by Huawei back in 2017 bought against CNEX and a former Huawei employee, Yiren Huang, claiming theft of trade secrets by Huang. He was formerly at a US Huawei subsidiary and an engineering manager there. He apparently assisted in the start up of CNEX in 2013 just three days after leaving the Huawei subsidiary.

CNEX in a counterclaim, identified Mao as asking for one of its circuit boards to use in a research project but that after receiving it Mao turned around and used it for a study associated with Huawei.

That case ended in June resulting in a ‘take nothing’ judgement.

The jury determined that CNEX did not steal secrets from Huawei and no damages were awarded to Huawei because the jury did not find that Huawei had been harmed by CNEX.

However the jury did decide that Huang violated his employment contract because he did not notify Huawei of the patents he obtained within a year after leaving Huawei.

Now, US prosecutors have revived the CNEX case because they have a case against Huawei in Brooklyn not only for the Iran sanction violations but also for alleged bank fraud.