The CIA has warned intelligence officials that Huawei receives funding from China’s National Security Commission, the People’s Liberation Army and a third branch of the Chinese state intelligence network, a source in Britain told the newspaper. The US intelligence agency shared the information earlier this year with Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, the newspaper reported.
Huawei is the world’s second-largest phone manufacturer by volume, but it has struggled to make a dent in the US, partly because of concerns expressed by the government, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, the Federal Communications Commission and House Intelligence Committee.
The core issue with Huawei has been concerns over its coziness with the Chinese government and fears that its equipment could be used to spy on other countries and companies. It’s the reason why the US banned companies from using Huawei networking equipment in 2012.
In January, the US Justice Department unsealed indictments that included 23 counts pertaining to the theft of intellectual property, obstruction of justice and fraud related to its alleged evasion of US sanctions against Iran. One 10-count indictment accuses Huawei of stealing trade secrets from US carrier T-Mobile beginning in 2012.
The US also charged Meng Wanzhou — the company’s CFO and founder’s daughter — with financial fraud. Meng was detained in December by Canadian officials at the behest of the Justice Department over claims she defrauded US banks into making transactions that violated US sanctions prohibiting companies from doing business with Iran.
Representatives for the CIA and Huawei didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
China’s Foreign Ministry couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.