Meng Wanzhou, a top executive of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies, settled criminal charges with the US Justice Department on Friday, clearing the way for her to return to China and bringing an end to a case that strained ties between Washington and Beijing.
Wanzhou wept after the virtual hearing in a federal court in Brooklyn, when US prosecutors agreed to the agreement and dismissed charges against her, after being confined to her multimillion-dollar Vancouver, Canada, home for three years.
After Meng Wanzhou negotiated an agreement with US prosecutors earlier on Friday that terminated their bank fraud case against her, Canadian government attorneys urged the court to remove the power to proceed in her case and dismiss her.
US DOJ reaches deal with Huawei's Meng Wanzhou
The US Justice Department said on Friday that it has struck an agreement with Meng to defer prosecution, avoiding a trial and moving toward defusing a case that has strained ties with China.
Meng, who consented to a statement of facts in the case but did not plead guilty, would have the felony fraud charges against her withdrawn on December 1, 2022, if she follows the deal, according to a Justice Department attorney who testified in federal court in Brooklyn.
In December 2018, the executive was detained at Vancouver International Airport on a US warrant and charged with bank and wire fraud for allegedly lying to HSBC about Huawei's commercial operations in Iran.
According to another individual familiar with the situation, the deferred prosecution deal solely applies to Meng Wanzhou, and US accusations against the firm remain. One of the significant conflicts between the world's two largest economies would be resolved as a result of such a deal, The Strait Times reported.
The deal may also open the door for the release of two Canadians detained in China, businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig, who was apprehended shortly after Meng was detained in 2018.
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou expected to plead guilty to minor crimes
According to the BBC, Meng Wanzhou is anticipated to plead guilty to minor charges and have the more severe accusations withdrawn. In an email, Meng's lawyer, Reid Weingarten, confirmed the existence of the deal but did not offer any information.
In 2019, shortly before a critical two-day session of trade talks between the US and China, the Trump administration's Justice Department unsealed criminal allegations claiming Huawei of stealing trade secrets and alleging Meng of defrauding banks about the company's business connections in Iran.
The indictment claims Huawei sold equipment to Iran through a Hong Kong shell company named Skycom, in violation of US sanctions. Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's founder's daughter, opposed the Justice Department's extradition request, saying that the evidence against her was flawed.
Last month, a Canadian court postponed a ruling on whether Meng should be extradited to the United States after a Canadian Justice Department lawyer concluded his argument by stating that there is enough evidence to prove she was dishonest and deserved to face trial in the United States.
Huawei is the world's largest provider of networking gear to phone and internet companies, and some analysts believe Chinese firms have broken international regulations and conventions in the wake of allegations of technology theft.
The corporation reflects China's development toward becoming a technology powerhouse, and it has raised security and law enforcement worries in the United States. It has frequently disputed the claims made by the US government and the security risks raised by its products, as per Newsweek via MSN.