Huawei Technologies Co. pleaded not guilty Thursday in New York to federal charges that the company defrauded at least four banks by concealing business dealings in Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions.
The Chinese telecom giant entered the plea through its lawyer, James Cole, in federal court in Brooklyn. Huawei is China’s largest smart-phone maker and the world’s top manufacturer of cellular-tower electronics.
The plea marks the formal start of Huawei’s defense in the U.S. case. A judge may now schedule pretrial proceedings, which could include the sharing of prosecution and company information before the start of an eventual trial.
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of the company’s billionaire founder, is also charged in the case. However, she is free on bail in Vancouver, where she was arrested by Canadian authorities in December at the request of U.S. prosecutors. Meng is fighting extradition to the U.S., claiming that the charges against her are politically motivated.
In a 13-count indictment unsealed Jan. 28, prosecutors allege Huawei employees, including Meng, lied since 2007 about the company’s relationship with Skycom Tech Co., which operated in Iran. Huawei and Meng falsely claimed Skycom wasn’t an affiliate, according to the government, which filed charges including conspiracy, wire f