US intelligence probes G42, Abu Dhabi’s AI powerhouse and OpenAI partner



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G42 is an AI and cloud computing company based in Abu Dhabi with ties to the UAE government. A New York Times report has revealed that the company is under investigation by US intelligence agencies.

According to a report in the New York Times, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan raised concerns about the potential extent of cooperation between the AI company G42 and Chinese companies such as Huawei during a visit by his counterpart from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed.

The company is based in the United Arab Emirates and is controlled by Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed. According to the report, US officials are concerned that G42 could serve as a conduit for the transfer of advanced US technology to Chinese companies or the government. G42 works with major Chinese companies that US officials consider security threats, including Huawei, which is subject to US sanctions.

In addition, intelligence reports warn that G42’s business relationships with Chinese companies could lead to the genetic data of millions of Americans and others falling into the hands of the Chinese government, according to two officials familiar with the reports.

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US intelligence agencies investigated G42 CEO Peng Xiao

The CIA even produced a classified profile of Peng Xiao, the CEO of G42, who was educated in the US and renounced his American citizenship in favour of that of the United Arab Emirates. The conclusions of the CIA document on Xiao are not public, according to the New York Times.

The Biden administration has expressed concern about the company and its management in recent months, urging G42 to sever its ties with Chinese companies and authorities. The possibility of sanctions against the company has also been raised.

According to the report, the talks took place in Washington and Abu Dhabi and were led by several US officials, including CIA Director William J. Burns and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. Tarun Chhabra, director for technology at the National Security Council, also raised concerns with officials in Abu Dhabi.

Biden administration cracks down on high-tech transfers to China

The G42 is thus at the center of US efforts to curb China’s efforts to gain supremacy in world-leading technologies such as artificial intelligence. The Biden administration has imposed export restrictions on chip manufacturers and other relevant technology companies to prevent advanced chip technologies from reaching China and Russia. Fears that China could obtain these technologies through third countries or use them locally led to an extension of the bans to certain Middle Eastern countries in August.

But the case of G42 is complicated: The company has partnerships with Chinese companies such as Huawei, but also with American companies such as Microsoft and Dell Technologies. Since mid-October, it has also partnered with OpenAI.

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