Police Raid Huawei Offices in Brazil

Brazil's federal police raid Huawei's offices on suspicion that the vendor has illegal immigrants working there

December 7, 2007

2 Min Read
Police Raid Huawei Offices in Brazil

The Brazilian headquarters of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. has been raided by the Latin American country's Federal Police following a tip-off about illegal workers, according to reports in the local press.

And it seems this isn't the first time Huawei's Brazilian operation has been targeted.

The reports, published by Computerworld, IT Web, and others in Portuguese, say 70 staff working at the company's offices in São Paulo were detained on November 27 by the Federal Police force, which had been informed that overseas staff were working at the site illegally.

Most of the staff were released shortly after being detained on November 27, but three Huawei executives were held for longer for additional questioning before being released on November 29.

Of those detained, 50 were working with business visas, but 20 were reportedly found to be overseas workers without the required paperwork, and were, according to one report, given eight days to leave the country.

Huawei issued a statement locally saying it was collaborating with the authorities, that its business in Brazil is not being affected, and that of its 550 employees in Brazil, 75 percent are Brazilian.

The vendor now faces an immigration violation fine of around $32,000, but sources suggest that, because Huawei has allegedly been caught breaking the same rules previously, though on a much smaller scale (one or two people), further financial penalties might be levied, especially if any salaries related to the illegal immigrants have not been properly accounted for.

Huawei's Brazilian headquarters could not be contacted as this article was being prepared, while spokespeople for the vendor in North America knew nothing of the situation. Huawei's headquarters in China could not be reached as this article was published.

The Huawei raid comes only weeks after Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) fired one of executives in Brazil after he was indicted on charges of tax evasion. (See Cisco Cleans House in Brazil.)

According to Huawei's Website the Brazilian office acts as the headquarters for the Latin American region, where sales in 2006 reached $680 million. The company claims to be the No. 1 vendor in Latin America for IP DSLAM and VOIP deployments, and No. 2 in the optical and switch/router market. It has also had notable success in the mobile infrastructure market. (See Vivo Picks Huawei GSM, Huawei Touts Brazil, Africa Wins, and Huawei Wins in Brazil.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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