Russian sovereign wealth fund says US allegations against Huawei are unproven and unfair

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The head of Russia’s sovereign investment fund has urged the U.S. to back-up claims that China’s Huawei represents a national security threat.

The U.S. has led allegations that Huawei’s equipment can be used by Beijing for espionage operations, with Washington calling on Western allies to bar the company from next-generation 5G networks.

Huawei has repeatedly denied the allegations against it.

Huawei has become a point of contention in a broader trade dispute between Washington and Beijing, with other countries under pressure to decide whether to allow the world’s largest maker of telecom equipment to help build their 5G networks.

On Wednesday, Huawei announced it had signed a deal with Russia’s top mobile operator MTS to develop 5G technology in Russia.

Speaking to CNBC’s Geoff Cutmore at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), said the U.S. had failed to provide evidence that Huawei represents a prohibitive security risk.

“First of all, it has not been proven. We need to have some really clear evidence and I’m sure our people will look into this and, if it happens, it will not be the case,” Dmitriev said, when asked whether he had concerns about possible Chinese surveillance.

“But, what we are concerned about is allegations like this are thrown in without any proof and used for unfair practices.”

Russia wants to be ‘friends’ with the U.S. and China

The U.S. has targeted Huawei by putting the company on a blacklist that restricts its access to U.S. technology – on which it heavily relies.

RDIF’s Dmitriev said the U.S. should be viewed as the “pillar of capitalism.” But, unproven allegations against Huawei showed the U.S. was “using competition unfairly and that is not a good thing for the world economy.”

Russia has been courting Chinese investment at its annual business conference this week.

China’s commerce ministry reportedly said Thursday that Beijing and Moscow had signed more than $20 billion of deals to boost economic ties in areas such as technology and energy following President Xi Jinping’s summit with his “best friend” President Vladimir Putin.

It comes at a time when the White House has attempted to put pressure on countries prepared to invite Huawei inside their networks. The U.S. has even said it would be prepared to limit intelligence sharing with allies who continue to use the company’s technology.

The 5G networking standard is seen as critical because it can support the next generation of mobile devices.

“We will be friends with China and by the way we want to be friends with the U.S., with Europe so it is not a friendship against anybody else,” RDIF’s Dmitriev said.