Huawei executive reaches deal with US prosecutors

New York (AFP) –


The chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has reached a deal with prosecutors to resolve US charges that saw her detained in Canada for nearly three years, the US Justice department indicated Friday.

In a filing with the federal court in Brooklyn, New York, the Justice Department said Friday that it would submit, along with lawyers representing Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, a "resolution" to the politically divisive felony charges against her.

The two sides will present the proposed resolution to the judge during a hearing at 1:00 pm Friday, the filing said.

Meng was arrested in Vancouver, Canada in December 2019 on a US warrant that accused her defrauding HSBC Bank and other banks by falsely misrepresenting links between Huawei and Skycom, the affiliate that sold telecoms equipment to Iran.

The case added to the deepening division between Beijing and Washington and caught Canada in the middle.

The Wall Street Journal said Meng would plead guilty to minor charges while the main allegations of fraud, related to sales to Iran by a Huawei affiliate, would be dropped.

The deal could allow Meng to return to China without facing US jail time, the Journal said.

Citing unnamed sources, Canada's public broadcaster CBC said that if a deal is agreed in the New York court, her house arrest could be lifted and the extradition case dropped.

Meng, a top Huawei executive and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was on the board of Skycom.

She is accused of masking financial transactions of the company through the US financial system, violating US sanctions on Iran, and lying about it to FBI investigators.

The United States, which has campaigned against Huawei as selling phones that allegedly would allow the Chinese government to spy on Americans, had pressed Canada to arrest her.

Meng was placed under house arrest in Canada after being detained as the US Justice Department pushed for her extradition.

She faced a possible 30 years in prison on the charges, which China labelled "entirely political."

Days after her arrest, China detained two Canadians, businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig, accusing them of espionage.

Both were tried in March, and in August Spavor was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

No decision has been announced in Kovrig's case.

Western nations have accused China of "hostage diplomacy" for arresting and charging the Canadians.

Beijing-Ottawa relations have hit rock bottom over the case and those of the Canadians held in China.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced Spavor's sentence as "unacceptable and unjust," and said the charges were "trumped up."