Huawei CFO linked to firm selling tech to Iran: Report

Huawei CFO linked to firm selling tech to Iran: Report

Summary: A Hong Kong firm with "ties" to Chinese firm Huawei, which the US House Intelligence Committee warned US businesses to avoid doing business with, attempted to sell HP equipment to Iran. But, the devil is in the company details and how close the two firms were.

TOPICS: Huawei, Networking, China

Corporate records show that a Hong Kong-based firm that attempted to sell HP equipment to an Iranian mobile phone operator has stronger ties to China-based Huawei than first thought.

Huawei headquarters.
(Credit: Jay Greene/CNET)

First reported by the Reuters news agency, the telecoms equipment giant's Cathy Meng--the daughter of the firm's chief executive--served on the board of Skycom Tech Ltd for a 14-month period between 2008 and 2009, and also the company chief financial officer during 2007, according to Skycom records filed with Hong Kong's regulators.

The news agency also reported deep ties between the two companies, including some naming the "joint venture" on their LinkedIn pages, carrying Huawei business cards, and also owning Huawei corporate email addresses.

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Huawei accused of supplying HP equipment to Iran

Huawei accused of supplying HP equipment to Iran

One of Huawei's partners appeared to have been setting up proposals for Iranians to buy HP equipment, despite US sanctions that ban the export of computer equipment to Iran.

Reuters noted that in 2010, Skycom's Tehran-based office offered to sell at least 1.3 million euros (US$1.76 million) of HP-branded gear to Iran's Mobile Telecommunications Co, despite US trade sanctions in place.

Marked with "confidential" labels and logos belonging to the Chinese technology giant, Huawei said that neither it nor Skycom provided to equipment--in spite of calling Skycom one of its "major local partners."

Huawei described the relationship between the company and Skycom as a "normal business partnership," but did not deny that it sells telecoms equipment to Iran, as it is not covered under the US trade embargo, unlike HP.

Another Chinese telecoms provider, ZTE--a rival to Huawei--was previously reported as being investigated by US authorities for allegedly selling technology to the "rogue" Middle Eastern state, according to leaked documents. Hardware and software components from Microsoft, HP, Oracle, Dell, Cisco, and Symantec were shipped to Iran by ZTE, according to a 907-page packing list document discovered by Reuters last year.

Last year, a report by the US House Intelligence Committee alleged that both Huawei and ZTE had links to the Chinese government, and that the firm could be engaged in espionage. Both companies deny that they are spying for the Chinese, but the House committee warned US businesses not to buy from the two companies.

And, earlier this month, amid fears over Chinese espionage, Huawei gear was removed from a US nuclear lab over fears that US secrets could be uncovered.

The new report suggesting links to Iran may reignite the debate over dealing with Chinese companies, or firms with less-than-reputable track records.

It's not uncommon for Chinese companies to have dealings with Iran; the two states may be politically similar in a number of ways, and on the most part shun the Western democracies. But over the years, selling third-party equipment from a US firm, which is under embargoes to prevent the superpower from inadvertently helping in nefarious nuclear-related schemes, has become increasingly publicized.

Topics: Huawei, Networking, China

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  • To be fair, selling tech to USA is more dangerous (simply be the fact of ..

    .. the level and quantity of aggressions, as well as the number of victims), and yet those sales are not prohibited. So it all depends on actual use of technology -- in Iran's case, as well as basically any other country's case -- this depends.
    • I see the use of brain technology...

      ...hasn't changed much in the few months I've been away from zdnet...
      • You are so right, you are the only one with brain use technology that is ..

        ... so unique. Whole of ZDNet was surely lacking without such originality. However good the asylum was, please just do not go away from us any more.
        • Of course I'm right

          I have it and you don't.

          It comes with not making retarded statements like yours up above.
          • Though I am not making general statements, I said "this depends"

            It turned out that you just could not read one paragraph, cut it out in your mind to blame it on the author.
          • Semantics doesn't let you off the hook

            Not with your retarded statement up above.

            You shouldn't complain. You wanted the attention so now you got it.
    • Huh?

      And I repeat: Huh?
  • Iran is on rouge because...

    it doesn't have an IMF bank. Much like Lybia, Iraq, North Korea, Venezula, Syria are or were rouge.
    Fuhrer D
  • Does China Have Restrictions On Its Firms Doing Business With Iran?

    If not, what's all the fuss about?
    • Errr.....

      Because Itran and China are buddies [or definitely more friendlier than Iran and the US].
  • This bring up something....

    There was a story that came out whether Lenovo would buy Blackberry/RIM. If any Chinmese controlled company ever bought Blsackberry/RIM you would see many governments - not just the US drop their Blackjberries in favor of something else. Blackberries still have the most secure network and the last thing ANY government wants is them snooping in once they have the "keys" to get in.
    That said, I don't think the Canadian government would allow the sale anyways. They [obviously] also use Blackberries for government purposes.
    If Lenovo actually did buy Blackberry/RIM, the sales and usage would drop drop like flies.