2021-09-24 20:01:05 Huawei Executive Meng Wanzhou Is Set to Be Released
Huawei Executive Meng Wanzhou Is Set to Be Released
According to a person familiar with the agreement, the Justice Department has reached an agreement that will allow Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, to return to China in exchange for admitting some wrongdoing in a sanctions violation case.
Ms. Meng, who has been detained in Canada since 2018, has agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement, which will be entered in federal court in Brooklyn on Friday afternoon. According to the source, she will admit to some wrongdoing, and federal prosecutors will defer and then drop the charges against her. She will not enter a guilty plea as part of the agreement.
The case has come to represent the tumultuous relationship between the world’s two superpowers, the United States and China, which is at its lowest point in decades. And it has created a diplomatic challenge in which Canada is caught in the middle.
The agreement to release Ms. Meng could signal a more conciliatory approach to Beijing under the Biden administration.
Ms. Meng appeared in person at the hearing on Friday via videoconference.
Ms. Meng, the technology giant’s chief financial officer, was arrested in December 2018 at Vancouver International Airport at the request of the United States. Ms. Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder and CEO, Ren Zhengfei, quickly rose to prominence as one of the world’s most famous detainees.
In January 2018, the Justice Department indicted Ms. Meng and Huawei, the telecom company founded by her father, Ren Zhengfei. It accused the company and its chief financial officer of a decade-long conspiracy to steal trade secrets, obstruct a criminal investigation, and avoid Iranian economic sanctions.
The charges highlighted the Trump administration’s efforts to directly link Huawei to the Chinese government, after long suspecting the company of working to advance Beijing’s economic and political ambitions while undermining American interests.
Ms. Meng’s release could have an impact on the fate of two Canadians who are currently imprisoned in China.
Soon after Ms. Meng’s arrest, China detained former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor in what has been widely interpreted in Canada as hostage diplomacy. China has denied any link between the two. Mr. Spavor was sentenced to 11 years in prison in August by a court in northeastern China, where he had been living, after being found guilty of spying.
If the two men are released, it could help Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was re-elected with a minority government this week after calling an unpopular snap election. Mr. Trudeau’s inability to secure their release has cast a pall over his presidency.
Ms. Meng’s defense team maintained her innocence throughout her extradition hearing in Canada. They claimed that President Donald J. Trump politicized her case and violated her rights when she was arrested in Vancouver.