If you’re wondering how things went wrong with Huawei’s relationship with the US went wrong, Meng Wanzhou, the company’s CFO, might be able to tell you. That is if she decides she wants to talk. Reuters reports that Wanzhou, who has been the subject of an ongoing criminal case with the United States, could enter talks this Friday that would see her charges deferred and eventually dropped. The problem up to this point is that she denies any wrongdoing, making it difficult for negotiations to come to blows.
It’s hard to pinpoint when tensions between the US and Huawei began, but Wanzhou was arrested in December 2018 as a result of fraud that dated back as early as 2007. It was suspected that Huawei was using a company called Skycom Tech Co Ltd. as a front, allowing Huawei to bypass sanctions with Iran to illegally obtain U.S. technology and services. In addition, Wanzhou allegedly misled HSBC Holdings Plc. about the nature of the dealings, which put the bank at risk for processing transactions linked to Iran. Wanzhou denies the claims, stating that Huawei sold the company in question in 2007 and has since had loose dealings with them.
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It’s being reported that the case against her could be dropped, allowing her to return to China after being stuck in Canada at the request of U.S. officials. Talks are expected to continue Friday, but even so, would not affect other charges against Huawei related to trying to obtain trade secrets from U.S. tech companies.
Doesn’t look good for Huawei which already deals with mistrust from the U.S. government over spying. The company is already in a tight spot, due to firmer sanctions imposed by the United States, preventing the company from building or using high-end chips found in today’s top 5G smartphones. Moreover, the United Kingdom has now moved to ban Huawei’s equipment from being used in the country’s mobile network infrastructure.
Talks between and U.S. Justice Department and Wanzhou’s attorneies apparently resumed following the recent presidential election, with Huawei officials hoping that president-elect Joe Biden’s administration would be much more relaxed in its treatment of the company.