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Huawei CFO, U.S. reach agreement to resolve bank fraud charges

Posted On: Sep. 24, 2021 1:58 PM CST

 Meng Wanzhou

(Reuters) — Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou has reached an agreement with U.S. prosecutors to end the bank fraud case against her, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Kessler told a New York judge Friday, a move that should allow her to eventually leave Canada and relieve a point of tension between China and the United States.

A hearing is underway in Brooklyn federal court, where the U.S. government said it will discuss a resolution of charges against Ms. Meng, according to a Friday court filing. Ms. Meng is attending the hearing virtually from Canada and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Ms. Meng was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 on a U.S. warrant and was indicted on bank and wire fraud charges for allegedly misleading HSBC about the telecommunications equipment giant's business dealings in Iran, a story reported first by Reuters in 2012.

The agreement pertains only to Ms. Meng, and U.S. charges remain against the company, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Kessler said the agreement ends in December 2022 and that as long as she doesn't break the law, the charges will be dropped.

Beyond solving a dispute between the United States and China, the agreement could also pave the way for the release of two Canadians, businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig, who have been held in China since their arrest shortly after Ms. Meng was taken into custody in 2018. In August, a Chinese court sentenced  Mr. Spavor to 11 years in prison for espionage.

A spokeswoman for Huawei declined to comment. An attorney for Ms. Meng could not be immediately reached for comment.

Ms. Meng, who has also used the English first names “Cathy” and “Sabrina,” has said she is innocent and has been fighting extradition to the United States from Canada. She is confined to Vancouver and monitored 24/7 by private security that she pays for as part of her bail agreement.