Chinese tech executive Meng Wanzhou is expected to appear virtually in an American federal courtroom today to plead guilty in the U.S. proceedings against her, say sources.
The Huawei Technologies chief financial officer will pay a fine as part of a plea deal, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly.
Her court appearance was first reported by Reuters.
Sources said if the New York court accepts the deal, Canadian Crown attorneys will appear in a Vancouver court later today to stay extradition proceedings against Meng. She could be free of house arrest as early as today.
The U.S. District Court said Meng will appear virtually at 1 p.m. ET in a Brooklyn courtroom to address a “resolution of the charges against the defendant in this matter.”
Today’s developments could mark a new phase in the strained relationship between the Canadian and Chinese governments.
The 49-year-old Meng was arrested at Vancouver’s airport on Dec. 1, 2018 on a U.S. extradition request on allegations that she lied to a Hong Kong banker in August 2013 about Huawei’s control of a subsidiary accused of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.
A few days later, Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were detained in what is largely seen as an act of retaliation by Beijing against Canada.
Questions turn to release of Canadians
Both men were charged with espionage. Spavor has been sentenced to 11 years in prison. Kovrig has yet to be sentenced; his trial wrapped in March.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the charges “trumped-up.” China has long claimed that the cases of Spavor and Kovrig are not linked to Meng’s case.
Colin Robertson, who served as a Canadian diplomat in China, said he expects talks between Washington and Beijing will now pivot to returning the two men home.
“You would get the plea by Meng Wanzhou and then at some later date we would see the two Michaels deported back to Canada, but I would not expect it to follow in a matter of days,” he told CBC’s The Early Edition.
“This would be a negotiation involving Canada but it would be principally between the U.S. and China.”