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Huawei Used Code Names for Syria, Sudan Activities, U.S. Alleges

Natalie Obiko Pearson
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Huawei Used Code Names for Syria, Sudan Activities, U.S. Alleges

(Bloomberg) -- Huawei Technologies Co. used code names and secret subsidiaries to conduct business in Syria, Sudan and Iran, the U.S. alleged in the extradition case related to sanctions violations against the company’s chief financial officer.

The Chinese networking giant allegedly operated a de facto unit called DirectPoint in Sudan and Canicula in Syria, according to documents released this week by a Canadian court. In internal spreadsheets, Huawei also used the code “A5” to refer to Sudan and “A7” to Syria, the U.S. said in the documents submitted to the Canadian government in support of its request for the extradition of company CFO Meng Wanzhou.

Huawei operated those units just as it controlled a subsidiary in Iran that obtained American goods, technologies and services in violation of U.S. sanctions, according to the allegations.

The U.S. is seeking to extradite Meng -- daughter of Huawei’s billionaire founder Ren Zhengfei -- after accusing her and others at the company of conspiring to trick banks into conducting more than $100 million worth of transactions that may have violated U.S. sanctions. The company has denied it committed any violations. It didn’t respond Wednesday to requests for comment on the allegations in the court documents.

“The motivation for these misrepresentations stemmed from Huawei’s need to move money out of countries that are subject to U.S. or EU sanctions -- such as Iran, Syria, or Sudan -- through the international banking system,” the Justice Department said in its request for Canada to arrest Meng as she arrived at Vancouver’s airport last December.

The court on Tuesday released hundreds of pages of documents and video footage submitted by Meng’s defense to back its arguments that Canadian authorities deceived her about the true nature of her detention in order to collect evidence for the U.S. FBI.

In those documents, the U.S. outlined its case against Meng and its plans for witnesses in the case against her if she is successfully extradited. Among those witness are unnamed executives from HSBC Holdings Plc, Standard Chartered Plc, BNP Paribas SA and Citigroup Inc. that allegedly were misled by Meng and her colleagues into continuing business with Huawei at the time despite the risk of sanctions violations.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natalie Obiko Pearson in Vancouver at npearson7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack, Peter Blumberg

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