NEW YORK — A top executive of Chinese communications giant Huawei Technologies has reached a deal with the Justice Department that enables her to resolve criminal charges against her, according to her lawyer and a letter from the Justice Department. The agreement with Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of the company’s founder, could pave the way for her to return to China.
The agreement, set to be disclosed in federal court in Brooklyn on Friday, resolves a yearslong legal and geopolitical tussle that involved not only the U.S. and China but also Canada, where Meng has remained since her arrest there in December 2018. The resolution is known as deferred prosecution. A defendant must agree to abide by certain conditions in exchange for the Justice Department ultimately abandoning the case. Reid Weingarten, a lawyer for Meng, confirmed the existence of the agreement in an email but did not immediately provide additional details.
A spokesperson for Huawei declined to comment.
The Trump administration’s Justice Department unsealed criminal charges in 2019, just before a crucial two-day round of trade talks between the U.S. and China, that accused Huawei of stealing trade secrets and said Meng had committed fraud by misleading banks about the company’s business dealings in Iran.
The indictment accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company called Skycom to sell equipment to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, fought the Justice Department’s extradition request, and her lawyers called the case against her flawed. Last month, a Canadian judge reserved her decision on whether Meng should be extradited to the U.S. after a Canadian Justice Department lawyer wrapped up his case by saying there’s enough evidence to show she was dishonest and deserves to stand trial in the U.S.
Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies. Some analysts say Chinese companies have flouted international rules and norms amid allegations of technology theft. The company represents China’s progress in becoming a technological power and has been a subject of U.S. security and law enforcement concerns.
It has repeatedly denied the U.S. government’s allegations and the security concerns about its products.