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FBI was ‘persistent’ about getting information in Huawei CFO’s extradition case, court hears

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was “very persistent” in seeking information from border agents after Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou’s arrest two years ago, a Canadian border official testified in court on Tuesday….

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VANCOUVER (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was “very persistent” in seeking information from border agents after Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou’s arrest two years ago, a Canadian border official testified in court on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to attend a court hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada December 7, 2020. REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier

Nicole Goodman, a chief at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in charge of agents investigating Meng the day she was detained, told the court that an Ottawa-based legal attache for the FBI reached out repeatedly asking for Meng’s travel history in Canada and other private information after she was taken into custody by the Canadian federal police on a U.S. warrant for bank fraud.

Goodman told the court she did not have the authority to share the requested information and was concerned that someone else within the CBSA who was not familiar with the case might share the information without authorization.

“I would never be releasing information to the FBI at my level,” she said.

Meng’s lawyers have argued that U.S. and Canadian authorities illegally coordinated during the investigation and arrest. In particular they claim that Canadian border agents intentionally gave identifying details about Meng’s electronic devices – including passcodes – to Canadian police.

They further allege that Canadian police shared those details with the FBI.

Prosecutors are trying to establish that Meng’s arrest by the Canadian federal police and the investigation by border officials were above board.

Meng, 48, is facing charges of bank fraud in the United States for allegedly misleading HSBC Holdings PLC about Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s business dealings in Iran, causing the bank to break U.S. sanctions.

She has said she is innocent and is fighting the extradition from under house arrest in Vancouver.

Goodman testified that she discovered the CBSA may have accidentally shared passcodes with police during a debrief meeting after Meng’s arrest. CBSA has previously testified that the passcodes to Meng’s electronic devices were shared with the Canadian federal police in error.

Goodman said when the topic of information sharing came up, agent Scott Kirkland went pale and looked distressed.

“I remember it vividly,” she said. “I wanted to know, what’s wrong here, Scott?”

Goodman learned that Kirkland had written passcodes on a piece of paper, and he did not know whether the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) took it or not at that time, she testified.

She believed the passcode sharing was “100 percent accidental.”

Earlier on Tuesday RCMP Sergeant Ross Lundie, who was serving as the force’s airport liaison when Meng was arrested, told the court that he recalled overhearing one of his RCMP colleagues discussing passcodes, potentially to Meng’s devices, with a Canadian border agent.

But he said he did not realize the potential significance of the conversation on the day of Meng’s arrest.

“At that time I had no idea why there would be passwords to phones … obtained by anybody,” he said. “I should have asked for clarity.”

The witness testimony this week has generated more attention after news last week that U.S. prosecutors are discussing a deal with lawyers for Meng to resolve criminal charges against her, signaling a potential end to a case that has strained ties between the United States, China and Canada.

Meng’s arrest caused a chill in diplomatic relations between Ottawa and Beijing. Shortly after Meng was detained, China arrested two Canadian men, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who now face spying charges.

On Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the release of the two Canadians was his “top priority,” while declining to comment on the talks to release Meng.

Meng’s case is scheduled to wrap up in April 2021.

Reporting by Sarah Berman in Vancouver; Additional reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Stephen Coates

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Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-huawei-tech-canada/fbi-was-persistent-about-getting-information-in-huawei-cfos-extradition-case-court-hears-idUSKBN28I1ER

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Reuters

EXCLUSIVE Galp to hold off on LNG investment until Mozambique ensures security

Portugal’s Galp Energia (GALP.LS), a partner in an Exxon Mobil-led gas consortium in Mozambique, will not invest in onshore plants there until authorities guarantee security and social stability, which may take time, CEO Andy Brown told Reuters.

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The logo of GALP is seen next to a petrol station of GALP company near Lisbon, Portugal July 30, 2018. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante/Files

Portugal’s Galp Energia (GALP.LS), a partner in an Exxon Mobil-led gas consortium in Mozambique, will not invest in onshore plants there until authorities guarantee security and social stability, which may take time, CEO Andy Brown told Reuters.

This marks a second setback to Mozambique’s hopes to develop a major liquefied nature gas (LNG) hub in the coming years after TotalEnergies (TOTF.PA) suspended its own, separate LNG project in the country.

Attacks by militants in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado region, near the $30 billion Rovuma liquefied natural gas project, have forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee the area. read more

The Mozambican government has said it expects the consortium to take the final investment decision, already postponed from 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year.

But the CEO of Galp, which has a 10% stake in the consortium, told Reuters on Monday his company did not include investments in Rovuma’s onshore facilities in its net capital expenditure plan for the next five years.

“It means that at the moment it’s very hard for us to predict when the time to invest will be,” Brown said.

“Last year we were really planning to have built Rovuma by 2025 and I don’t want to make a promise on Rovuma and then disappoint the market again,” he said.

“We continue to monitor security developments in the region,” said Exxon (XOM.N) spokesperson Todd Spitler, adding that the company is working with the government of Mozambique “to enable development of this world class resource.”

The other major partner, Italy’s Eni (ENI.MI), declined to comment.

“Before Galp starts investing in the project, the government needs to work with the local population to create the right kind of stability and social cohesion, as well as security, on the ground … That may take a while,” Brown said.

Brown said that once France’s TotalEnergies, which stopped construction of a separate LNG project near Rovuma due to the latest attacks in March and is working with Mozambique to ensure stability in the area, has reliably resumed the work, “we will be in a position to consider our own project”.

Despite the setbacks, Mozambique with its attractive gas projects is “a really important country for Galp”, Brown said, and the consortium is “working to get the cost to a level where this project is really competitive”.

Brown said that over the next five years, Brazil will absorb “the vast majority” of the 320 million to 400 million euros ($388 million to $485 million) of net capex which Galp has allocated to upstream annually, while there will be “some investment in floating LNG in Mozambique and some small investments in Angola”.

The investments in Brazil will be “mostly allocated to already sanctioned developments, including the Bacalhau I,” he said.

($1 = 0.8252 euros)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Mozambican government has said it expects the consortium to take the final investment decision, already postponed from 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/business/exclusive-galp-says-it-wont-invest-rovuma-until-mozambique-ensures-security-2021-06-14/

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Google dangles paid upgrade to businesses using Gmail addresses

Alphabet Inc’s Google on Monday unveiled an option for small businesses to upgrade their Gmail accounts for greater calendaring, video chat and email newsletter functionalities.

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of Google is seen on a building at La Defense business and financial district in Courbevoie near Paris, France, September 1, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google on Monday unveiled an option for small businesses to upgrade their Gmail accounts for greater calendaring, video chat and email newsletter functionalities.

Google Workspace Individual, which starts at $7.99 monthly including a temporary $2 discount, adds to the company’s expanding efforts to have users subscribe to some of its services such as YouTube and Google Photos in exchange for more support and features than are available for free. Subscription sales could help Google grow revenue beyond advertising.

The small-business offering compares with existing plans aimed at larger organizations that have their own websites to use in email addresses.

Javier Soltero, vice president for Google Workspace, told reporters that his unit had been informally saving photos of business cards or work vehicles mentioning an “@Gmail.com” address to “remind ourselves of the sheer number of people using our consumer products to run their businesses.”

Those that upgrade for appointment booking, newsletter production and other tools should be able to provide a more professional experience to clients, he said.

Workspace Individual will launch soon in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and Japan.

Google announced other changes to Workspace on Monday. Big businesses will be able to control encryption of their files on Google Drive for the first time and prevent Google from unlocking them. Airbus SE is an early customer.

All users now have access to Google Chat, the company’s successor to instant-message program Google Hangouts.

Now for the first time in years, free and paid users alike will have the same set of chat and email services, providing a common foundation that makes it simpler to develop new features, Soltero said.

Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/alphabet-google-workspace/google-dangles-paid-upgrade-to-businesses-using-gmail-addresses-idUSL2N2NT21G

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Internal data from breach circulating online -CD Projekt

Internal company data leaked during a February security breach is now being circulated on the internet, Polish video games maker CD Projekt (CDR.WA) said in a statement published on Thursday.

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Cd Projekt headquarters is pictured in Warsaw, Poland January 21, 2020. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

Internal company data leaked during a February security breach is now being circulated on the internet, Polish video games maker CD Projekt (CDR.WA) said in a statement published on Thursday.

The attack, which compromised some of its internal systems including the source code to its much-hyped game Cyberpunk 2077, dealt another blow to the Warsaw-based business after the game’s launch was beset by glitches.

“We are not yet able to confirm the exact contents of the data in question, though we believe it may include current/former employee and contractor details in addition to data related to our games,” the statement said.

It added that the company couldn’t confirm whether or not the data has been manipulated or tampered with since the breach.

Separately, video game maker Electronic Arts Inc (EA.O) said on Thursday that it is investigating a recent data breach, where some of its game source code and related tools were stolen.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/technology/internal-data-breach-circulating-online-cd-projekt-2021-06-10/

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