Reuters and the CBC first reported that Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou would appear in a Brooklyn federal courtroom today via streaming video and enter a plea regarding US charges against her. Canadian authorities arrested the Chinese executive in December 2018 on suspicion of violating US sanctions, and she has remained there on house arrest ever since, fighting US attempts at extradition. Hearings in her extradition case ended in August, with the ruling scheduled for October 21st.
The New York Times reports that during Meng’s appearance Friday afternoon, she pleaded not guilty to the charges against her. Prosecutors said that under a deferred prosecution agreement they will drop their extradition request to Canada, and provided she adheres to the terms, the charges will be dropped on December 1st next year.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Justice Department officials under the Biden administration revisited negotiations that had broken down under President Trump. Its sources report that Huawei itself is not a part of the deal and will continue to fight its charges of fraud and trade secret theft.
Meng was indicted on fraud charges claiming the Chinese technology and telecommunications company misrepresented its relationship with an Iranian affiliate, along with accusations it stole intellectual property from T-Mobile. The 13-count indictment named Meng, Huawei, and two of its subsidiaries — Huawei USA and Skycom.
Spokespeople for the US Attorney’s Office and Huawei have not commented publicly on the matter. According to the CBC sources, Meng will pay a fine as part of a plea deal, while Reuters says the agreement reached with US prosecutors will allow her to leave Canada and return to China. A former Canadian diplomat told the CBC he expects her release would lead to China deporting two Canadians it arrested and charged with espionage following Meng’s arrest.
Update September 24th, 3:24PM ET: Updated to add Meng’s court appearance, not guilty plea, and prosecution agreement details.
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