Six employees of Chinese smartphone maker Coolpad, who previously worked for Huawei, were detained by Chinese authorities for allegedly leaking documents from their former employer.

According to a report by the official Securities Times relayed by Reuters, the six are accused of infringing on Huawei’s intellectual property rights and are also under investigation by the Shenzhen public securities department regarding a patent application made before they joined Coolpad.

In a statement by a Coolpad unit, the employees’ lawyers and families deny the allegations, insisting none of them leaked documents or codes from Huawei.

Coolpad is 29 per cent owned by LeEco, which last June became the smartphone maker’s largest shareholder after expanding its stake by 11 per cent.

LeEco said in a post on its official Weibo account the accusations were “pure rumour”, Reuters reported.

In August Coolpad named Liu Jiangfeng, a long-time Huawei executive, as its CEO. Liu was most recently president of Huawei’s Honor smartphone unit.

Coolpad issued a profit warning last July as its sales suffered due to a downturn and fierce competition in its home market.