The finance chief of Chinese telecom giant Huawei has struck a deal with the US Department of Justice that will allow her return to China after nearly three years, according to reports.
Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is expected to virtually appear in Brooklyn federal court on Friday afternoon, where she will admit some wrongdoing in exchange for US prosecutors eventually dropping wire and bank fraud charges against her, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The news comes nearly three years after Meng — the 49-year-old daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei and a powerful member of Chinese high society — was detained in Vancouver, Canada on behalf of US authorities in December 2018. She has been stuck in the country ever since, enraging the Chinese government.
In a 2018 indictment, US prosecutors accused Meng and Huawei of violating US sanctions by misleading the bank HSBC about the extent of the company’s ties to Iran, accusations that Meng and Huawei have denied.
While most charges against Meng are expected be dropped, Huawei itself will still face prosecution, sources told the Journal.
The Justice Department and Huawei spokesman Glenn Schloss did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
Meng’s expected release could help cool tensions between the US and China, which has accused American authorities of an “unreasonable crackdown” that targeted a Chinese tech leader “in an attempt to strangle fair and just operations” for political reasons.
China also arrested two Canadians in China in what Ottawa said were politically motivated charges after Meng’s arrest.
One of the men who was arrested, entrepreneur Michael Spavor, was sentenced this August to 11 years behind bars on espionage charges.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau slammed China’s treatment of Spavor — who is known for having orchestrated a meeting between North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman — as not satisfying “even the minimum standards required by international law.”
The other Canadian, diplomat Michael Kovrig, is also still behind bars. Some observers say that Meng returning to China could lead to the release of Spavor and Kovrig.