Huawei executive returning as China releases Canadians
SHENZHEN, China (AP) — China's government was eagerly anticipating the return of a top executive from global communications giant Huawei Technologies on Saturday following what amounted to a high-stakes prisoner swap with Canada and the U.S.
Meng Wanzhou, 49, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of the company’s founder, reached an agreement with U.S. federal prosecutors that called for fraud charges against her to be dismissed next year. As part of the deal, known as a deferred prosecution agreement, she accepted responsibility for misrepresenting the company’s business dealings in Iran.
The same day, two Canadian citizens held by Beijing were were freed and flown back to Canada.
Meng was expected to arrive late Saturday in the southern technology hub of Shenzhen, where Huawei is based.
Her pending return was a top item on the Chinese internet and on state broadcaster CCTV's midday news broadcast, with anchor Tian Liang saying Meng was returning home by dint of the “unremitting efforts of the Chinese government."
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian reposted on social media a report on Meng having left Canada, adding “Welcome home.”
In an emailed statement, Huawei said it was looking forward to Meng's return and would “continue to defend itself against the allegations."
The company also sent a statement from Meng's lawyer, William W. Taylor III, saying Meng had “not pleaded guilty and we fully expect the indictment will be dismissed with prejudice after fourteen months."
Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor were arrested in China in December 2018, shortly after Canada arrested Meng on a U.S. extradition request. China charged them with endangering national security and sentenced Kovrig to 11 years in prison,...