FBI Reportedly Ran a Sting on Huawei at CES as Part of an Ongoing Investigation

According to an exclusive report by Bloomberg, the FBI carried out a sting operation on Huawei last month at CES in Las Vegas at a Prime Burger joint, while a Bloomberg reporter watched from a nearby gelato stand. The operation led to an eventual raid on a Huawei lab in San Diego as part of a previously unrevealed investigation.


The report notes that an Illinois-based startup Akhan Semiconductor reached out to the FBI when it suspected that Huawei was attempting to steal its intellectual property. The Chinese company had ordered a sample of Akhan’s Miraj Diamond Glass product, a screen that the company describes as nearly unbreakable.

That sample was sent to China for testing by Huawei, which violated International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which cover exported material with military application. Diamond coatings like Akhan’s product fall under these regulations.

Following months of investigation, the FBI recruited Akhan founder Adam Khan to meet with Huawei executives at last month’s CES for a sting operation. Throughout the meeting, the Huawei reps denied violating US export laws and focused the conversation on a future working relationship between the two companies.

“Akhan takes seriously any unlawful use of its technology. The theft of any Akhan assets, attempted or successful, will be not be tolerated. Akhan will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and work towards an expedient resolution to this matter,” the company said in a press release.

Currently, the Canadian government is undergoing a security review of 5G networks and is expected to release a decision on whether or not to ban Huawei here. Telus and Bell currently use Huawei equipment for 4G networks.

Huawei’s CFO was arrested in Vancouver back in December and remains out on bail. The U.S. has requested to extradite the executive over allegations of fraud and violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

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