A Chinese professor who taught at the University of Texas appeared before a federal judge in Brooklyn on charges he stole state-of-the-art technology from a Silicon Valley firm while secretly employed by technology giant Huawei, court papers and reports show.
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Bo Mao, 36, was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, on Aug. 14 and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in the theft of a first-of-its-kind drive from CNEX Labs in February 2017, according to the New York Post and the criminal complaint about his arrest.
The drive was embedded with a “software development kit” and contained CNEX Lab intellectual property. Mao was working for Huawei in secret in 2017 when he entered into an agreement to use CNEX's product that required him not to share the software with third parties such as the Chinese company, according to the federal criminal complaint.
FBI agents, however, said Mao had sent emails to Huawei’s employees discussing plans for the technology and related information. When CNEX asked Mao if he had shared any confidential data – such as the product number -- with the Chinese company, he denied doing so, court papers show.
Following last month’s arrest, Mao pleaded not guilty and was freed on a $100,000 bond, the Post reported.
In December 2017, just months before the theft, Huawei sued CNEX and one of its founders, who formerly worked for the Chinese company, for breach of contract and trade secret misappropriation, a Huawei spokesperson told FOX Business on Thursday. A judge threw out all but one of the claims.
Huawei emphasized that it's not targeted in the government's case against Mao, which was moved to the Eastern District of New York, where federal prosecutors are investigating claims that Huawei stole intellectual technology from several people and companies over a period of years.
The Chinese business has been sued by U.S. firms such as Motorola Solutions and T-Mobile over similar claims. Last year, CFO Men Wangzhou was arrested in Canada and accused of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.
In May, President Trump signed an executive order banning U.S. agencies from using Huawei – a move that the company later said might decrease revenue by $30 million.
A spokesperson from the University of Texas at Arlington would not comment on the ongoing investigation.