Reuters carried the report Monday about Bo Mao, an associate professor at Xiamen University in China, who became a visiting professor at a Texas university last fall.
He is accused of trying to help an unidentified Chinese conglomerate to “steal” technology from the unnamed US company. The news agency cited “sources” as naming the Chinese firm as Huawei.
Bo was arrested in Texas on August 14 and released six days later on $100,000 bond after agreeing to prosecution in New York. He pleaded not guilty in US District Court in Brooklyn later that month to a charge of conspiring to commit “wire fraud.”
Two years ago, Huawei had sued CNEX, a Silicon Valley startup, and one of its own former employees, Yiren Huang, for stealing trade secrets. Yiren was a former engineering manager at a US Huawei subsidiary, who helped start CNEX in 2013 after leaving Huawei.
CNEX retaliated by initiating a case of its own through which it claimed that the Chinese professor had asked for one of its circuit boards for a research project and that, after it sent the board to the professor, he used it for a study tied to Huawei.
Although it has not been charged, Huawei says it views the case against the professor as the US government's latest instance of "selective prosecution."
Washington has been accusing Huawei of serving Chinese intelligence purposes for some time, an allegation dismissed by the firm.
US government agencies have already been banned from buying equipment from Huawei.
The feud involving the company sits against the backdrop of large-scale trade war between the countries, triggered by Washington when it imposed tariffs on relatively all Chinese imports.
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