The U.S. Department of Justice is currently discussing an agreement with Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s vice president of finance, that would allow him to return to China from Canada to admit that he committed a criminal offense in a criminal case that will worsen the relationship between Beijing and the United States and Canada, according to sources in the Wall Street Journal.
Meng’s attorneys, charged with bank and telegraph fraud in connection with alleged violations of US sanctions against Iran in favor of Huawei, have spoken with Justice Department officials in recent weeks about the possibility of a “settlement” postponing the trial “According to the sources.
Under such an agreement, which prosecutors use in relation to companies but rarely individuals, Meng would be forced to admit the truth about some of the charges against them, but prosecutors would agree to postpone the charges and later drop them if they cooperate, the sources said.
Meng has so far resisted the proposed deal, believing he didn’t do anything wrong, some sources said. She declined to comment on a Huawei spokesperson. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment. A spokesman for the Canadian Foreign Ministry also declined to comment.
Meng was arrested two years ago while making a transfer in Vancouver. It is limited to the city in which it has a home. She has fought extradition to the United States – a multi-resource process that can take years to resolve – and her situation is, for many people in China, an example of Washington’s efforts to block the country’s global rise.
A deal would not only allow her to return to China, it would also remove a problem that seriously deteriorated Beijing-Ottawa relations and worsened the damage to relations between the country and Washington. A deal could also pave the way for China to release two Canadian men who were detained in the country shortly after Meng was arrested. This is one of the reasons for the ongoing discussions.
The Trump administration views Huawei as a threat to the national security of the United States and claims that Meng’s activities for the benefit of the company’s work with Iran are part of a pattern of illegal business. The United States’ stance angered Beijing, which accused Washington of discriminating against Huawei, and called on Canada to release Meng.
The negotiators who represent Meng and the Justice Department will return to talks this week in hopes of reaching an agreement before the end of Donald Trump’s administration, some sources said. Huawei officials also seem to be hoping that President-elect Joe Biden’s administration will prove to be more lenient, the sources said. A Biden spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Meng’s attorneys and U.S. Department of Justice officials are working to determine if there are any terms that both parties agree to, two of the sources said. Meng recently declined a settlement for not accepting the way his communications with some of the financial institutions working with the Huawei group were described, one person said.
Meng is the daughter of Ren Zhengfei, the founder of Huawei, one of the largest Chinese companies and a global leader in the telecommunications equipment segment. The United States accuses the company of being involved in technology theft, saying it could facilitate Beijing spying. Huawei denies the allegations.
Meng argued that he was wrongly accused and that the extradition request had unreasonable political grounds at a time when the United States was choosing to seek a favorable position in the strained trade and technology ties between the country and China.
In a regular briefing with journalists on Friday, Hua Chunying, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, did not directly refer to the possibility of negotiating with the Justice Department, but urged the United States to abandon its application. Extradition and asked Canada to allow Meng to return to China.
The case against Meng is based on allegations that she lied to Huawei’s banks during a lecture on trade relations between the company and Iran in 2013. Financial institutions subsequently released hundreds of millions of dollars in transactions that may have violated US sanctions. USA versus Iran.
Meng’s attorneys told a Canadian court in June that the United States had made “false and irresponsible statements” by excluding part of the presentation to banks in which they said Huawei was doing business with Iran have been mentioned.
In May, a judge in the Canadian province of British Columbia ruled that the United States had met an essential requirement for the extradition request. However, the hearings are expected to continue this month and next year. Meng is free on bail and must use an electronic motion monitor.
Her imprisonment sparked a serious diplomatic standoff that resulted in the arrest of two Canadians, including a diplomat on leave. You were accused of spying a few months ago.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in June that the arrests of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were unacceptable and “deeply worrying, not only for Canadians but also for people around the world who see China using arbitrary arrests for political purposes” . .
Spavor’s family have not publicly commented on his detention and Kovrig’s wife has stated that he is innocent.
In the past few weeks, the Global Times, a Chinese Communist Party-run newspaper, has specifically identified the Meng case as one area where Beijing expects the new Biden administration to change its stance.
David Laufman, who worked in the U.S. Department of Justice’s national security area, said the case was a very important case for the department and while prosecutors are weighing the geopolitical interests at stake, he can’t imagine the department will handle the case give up in Biden management.
“It would be an exception for the Justice Department to close a criminal case. But there are times when the interests of law and justice must give way to the broader foreign policy interests of the United States, ”said Laufman, who is now a private sector advocate with Wiggin and Dana, referring to the ongoing negotiations. still in the Trump administration. “Given the impact of the lawsuit against Meng on Canada and China-US relations, it may be such a case.”
While an agreement, which in practice will release Meng, is likely to ease tension between governments, opinion polls suggest that the episode has contributed to a deterioration in Canadians’ opinion of China, largely due to the arrest of two Canadians.
China strongly denies any link between Meng’s imprisonment and that of Kovrig and Spavor, which occurred nine days after Meng’s arrest in Canada in two different Chinese cities several hours apart. However, Chinese diplomats indicated that a solution to Meng’s case would help ensure the release of the two men.
Negotiations to liberate Meng began months before the November US presidential election under certain conditions, although they have become more urgent in recent weeks as the Trump administration nears its end.
The Justice Department harassment of Huawei is part of a broader Trump administrative move against the tech company. According to the US, Huawei could be forced by the Beijing government to use its devices to spy on or disrupt foreign communication networks, which the company denies.
A few months ago, US prosecutors brought new charges against the company and two of its subsidiaries in the US of conspiracy to commit crimes and conspiracy to steal trade secrets. The sanctions imposed by the US limited the company’s ability to obtain critical chips for its products and encouraged other countries to refuse their equipment for the new 5G cellular networks.
On Wednesday (2) William Evanina, the chief commander of US anti-espionage security operations, stated at the Aspen Cyber Summit conference that the indictment against Huawei was particularly helpful in convincing US European allies to take it into account of American concerns about the tech giant.