US to release Huawei's Meng Wanzhou: live updates

Here’s what you need to know: Picture Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou left home in August to attend an extradition he...

PictureHuawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou left home in August to attend an extradition hearing in Vancouver.
Credit…Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press, via Associated Press

The Justice Department has reached a deal that will allow Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou to return to China in exchange for admitting wrongdoing in a sanctions violation case, a person close to the agreement.

Ms Meng, who has been detained in Canada since 2018, has agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement that is expected to be reached Friday afternoon in federal court in Brooklyn. She will admit to wrongdoing and federal prosecutors will defer and then drop the charges against her, the person said. As part of the deal, she will not plead guilty.

The case has become a symbol of the tumultuous relationship between two global superpowers, the United States and China, which is at its lowest level in decades. And that created a diplomatic challenge that put Canada in the middle.

Ms Meng’s release deal could signal a more conciliatory approach to Washington’s stance towards Beijing under the Biden administration.

Ms. Meng appeared by video conference for Friday’s hearing.

The Canadian authorities arrested Ms. Meng, 49, CFO of the tech giant, in December 2018 at Vancouver International Airport, at the behest of the United States. Ms. Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder and general manager Ren Zhengfei, instantly became one of the world’s most famous inmates.

The Justice Ministry indicted Ms. Meng and Huawei, the telecommunications company founded by her father, Ren Zhengfei, in January 2018. It accused the company and its chief financial officer of a ten-year effort to steal trade secrets, obstruct a criminal investigation and evade economic sanctions against Iran.

The charges highlighted the Trump administration’s efforts to link Huawei directly to the Chinese government, after long suspecting the company was working to advance Beijing’s economic and political ambitions and undermine U.S. interests.

Ms. Meng’s release could affect the fate of ttwo Canadians imprisoned in China

China detained former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor, shortly after Ms. Meng’s arrest, in what was widely viewed in Canada as hostage diplomacy. China denied they were connected. In August, a court in northeast China, where Spavor lived, sentenced him to 11 years in prison after convicting him of espionage.

If the two are released, it could give Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a boost, who was re-elected this week with a minority government after calling an unpopular snap election. Mr. Trudeau’s inability to guarantee their freedom has cast a shadow over his tenure as Prime Minister.

Throughout her extradition hearing in Canada, Ms. Meng’s defense team proclaimed her innocence. They argued that President Donald J. Trump politicized his case and that his rights were violated when he was arrested in Vancouver.

Credit…Jesse Winter / Reuters

As news spread around the world that CTO Meng Wanzhou may soon be free to return to China, a large melee of reporters and passers-by gathered outside the closed seven-room mansion in the neighborhood. chic from Shaughnessy to Vancouver, where one of the world’s most famous inmates lived.

Speculation swirled through the crowd: was there a plane waiting for him at the airport to take him away? Assuming she was released, where and when would the GPS tracker around her ankle – a condition of her bail – be removed? And Ms. Meng, 49, would she say something about the end of her detention?

At around 9:15 a.m. Vancouver time, Ms. Meng left the mansion surrounded by security guards and was taken away in a large black SUV.

“Hello, hello everyone,” she said before the car took off.

During the years that Ms. Meng was detained, many Canadians looked down on her. Under her C $ 10 million bond, she is allowed to leave her home until 11 p.m. curfew, including to go to Richmond, a nearby town with a vibrant Chinese community, dim sum restaurants. and sprawling malls selling designer handbags.

Nonetheless, Ms. Meng kept a relatively low profile, dining in a restaurant with her family at least once and shopping. On one occasion, she bought a pizza for reporters gathered outside another mansion where she lived.

Under the terms of her bail, Ms. Meng pays for a team of guards from the Lions Gate Risk Management Group, a private security company, who monitored her and kept tabs on everyone entering and leaving her home.

In a city obsessed with fitness, those who initially offered a guarantee to facilitate his bail included a part-time yoga instructor and the real estate agent who sold Ms. Meng and her husband their two sprawling homes.

Credit…Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press, via Associated Press

When Meng Wanzhou was arrested by Canadian authorities at Vancouver Airport while changing flights in December 2018, she suddenly became one of the most famous inmates in the world.

Her arrest – made at the request of the United States for her extradition for fraud – sparked a storm of recriminations from China, plunged Ms. Meng into a legal limbo and placed Canada at the heart of a fight between two world powers.

Ms. Meng was a public face of Huawei. She began her career there over 25 years ago and became a senior executive at the company, with responsibilities that included reporting its financial results.

Here’s what you need to know about the Chinese tech leader.

Who is Meng Wanzhou?

A polite executive, Ms Meng, is the chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei and the eldest daughter of its founder, Ren Zhengfei.

Ms. Meng (pronounced “MUNG”), who also uses the names Sabrina and Cathy, was born in the western city of Chengdu. After dropping out of high school, she obtained a master’s degree and started at Huawei as a secretary.

Ms Meng was an important figure in Huawei as it grew rapidly: her job included speaking at public events around the world.

She was stopped on December 1, 2018, at the request of the United States, which requested her extradition and charged her with fraud. Her detention sparked a surge of support in China, where many viewed her as a hostage.

What’s the case against her?

Huawei has grown into the world’s largest supplier of equipment that underpins the world’s wireless networks. The United States has repeatedly accused the company of stealing technology from Western rivals and says its close ties to the Chinese government make it a national security threat.

In January 2019, the United States unveiled a sweeping indictment who, among other things, accused Ms Meng of fraudulently deceiving four banks so that Huawei could evade US sanctions against Iran.

He also accused Huawei of stealing trade secrets and obstructing a criminal investigation into what he said were the company’s efforts to avoid those sanctions by destroying or hiding evidence.

How did the case affect Canada-China relations?

Since the day of Ms Meng’s arrest, Canada has said it was legally bound to detain her at the request of its ally. Beijing saw it differently.

Shortly after his arrest, Chinese authorities arrested two Canadians, Michel kovrig, former diplomat and Michael spavor, a businessman. Just days after Canada approved Ms. Meng’s extradition hearing, the Chinese government accused them of espionage.

The two men have been held in secret detention sites in China without access to lawyers or visits from their families. A third Canadian, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, was sentenced to death in January 2019 after being convicted of drug trafficking.

All three cases have raised concern in Canada, where many have pointed to Ms. Meng’s relatively mild detention.

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Newsrust - US Top News: US to release Huawei's Meng Wanzhou: live updates
US to release Huawei's Meng Wanzhou: live updates
Newsrust - US Top News
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