US senators raise concern about Huawei-Sprint deal

* Huawei’s dealings in Iran, ties to PLA at issue

* U.S. Treasury Department, Sprint decline comment

* Huawei decries “old mischaracterizations”

By John Poirier

WASHINGTON, Aug 24 (BestGrowthStock) – A group of U.S. Republican
lawmakers have raised national security concerns about
China-based Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s [HWT.UL] bid to supply
equipment to Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N: ) due to the company’s
dealings with Iran and the Chinese military.

The concerns by eight Republican senators focus on whether
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Director of National
Intelligence General James Clapper should bar Huawei from doing
business with Sprint, which supplies equipment to the U.S.
military and law enforcement agencies, according to a letter
obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.

“We are concerned that Huawei’s position as a supplier of
Sprint Nextel could create substantial risk for U.S. companies
and possibly undermine U.S. national security,” they wrote.

The letter, dated Aug. 18, was signed by Christopher Bond,
Jim Bunning, Richard Burr, Susan Collins, James Inhofe, Jon
Kyl, Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby.

A Treasury Department spokesman said they were reviewing
the letter, but declined to comment on any talks the department
might be having with Huawei.

“Generally speaking, however, we welcome foreign
investment, which helps create significant economic benefits
and millions of good-paying jobs for American workers,”
Treasury spokesman Matthew Anderson said.

The senators are concerned that Huawei sold communications
technology to Saddam Hussein, the Taliban and Iran and its
military, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC).

They said a Chinese company with a big role in Iran’s
economy and close ties to the IRGC should not be allowed to do
business in the United States.

What they called “most troubling” is that Huawei Chief
Executive Officer Ren Zhengfei was a member of China’s People’s
Liberation Army (PLA).

“Huawei has a concerning history,” they said.

One of their top concerns is the ability of Western
countries to thwart cyber attacks from China and the ability of
remote hacking involving Huawei.

“Given China’s well documented focus on developing cyber
warfare capabilities, Huawei’s ties to the PLA have aroused
concern in a number of other nations in which it does
business,” the senators said.

Huawei denied any connection to the Chinese military or
government and said it was “disappointed to learn that old
mischaracterizations about the company still linger.”

“The truth is Huawei is an employee-owned private company
… (that) complies with all the laws, regulations and related
trade compliance regulations established by the UN and all the
countries where we operate including the U.S.” the company said
in a statement.

“This also applies to Iran, where our business operation is
similar to other western vendors in the market.”

A spokesman for Sprint said they had no comment on the
concerns raised by the Republican senators.
(Additional reporting by Doug Palmer; editing by Andre
Grenon)

US senators raise concern about Huawei-Sprint deal