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A staff member of Huawei uses her mobile phone at the Huawei Digital Transformation Showcase in Shenzhen, China's Guangdong province on March 6, 2019. Chinese telecom giant Huawei announced a revenue of more than $120 billion.

A staff member of Huawei uses her mobile phone at the Huawei Digital Transformation Showcase in Shenzhen, China's Guangdong province on March 6, 2019. Chinese telecom giant Huawei announced a revenue of more than $120 billion. (Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW YORK - The U.S. added a charge of racketeering conspiracy against Huawei Technologies Co., potentially increasing the penalties the Chinese company would face if convicted.

Huawei was already facing a series of criminal charges for allegedly violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea.

The new charge steps up U.S. pressure on Huawei. The government already had banned the company's technology and accused Huawei of aiding Beijing in espionage. Now the company faces even more significant criminal penalties if prosecutors win a conviction in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.

Huawei has accused the U.S. government of orchestrating a campaign to intimidate its employees and launching cyberattacks to infiltrate its internal network. The accusations have ratcheted up tensions between Huawei and the Trump administration.

As the criminal case against Huawei moves forward, the prosecution of its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, remains on hold. She is fighting extradition from Vancouver, Canada, after being arrested at the request of the U.S. last year. She is accused of defrauding banks when she made a presentation to one of its major banking partners and lied about by lying Huawei's business dealings in Iran, in violation of U.S. sanctions.

The case is U.S. v. Huawei Technologies Co., 18-cr-457, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

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