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- Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in December and charged with violating US trade sanctions on Iran.
- Meng is under house arrest in Canada as she waits to see whether she’ll be extradited to the US.
- Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, who is Meng’s father, reportedly told China’s state-sponsored TV station he expects his daughter will face some jail time.
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The founder of the Chinese tech giant Huawei is expecting that his daughter – who is also the company’s top financial executive – will see some jail time over the accusations that she violated US trade sanctions.
Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei told China’s state-sponsored TV station that he expects Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, to go to jail, according to a translation of his remarks from BBC journalist Stuart Lau. Meng is under house arrest in Canada as she waits to see whether she’ll be extradited to the US to face charges there.
US prosecutors have charged Meng with covering up Huawei’s links to a company called Skycom that sold over $100 million worth of technology equipment to Iran. Although Meng faces federal charges and jail time, Ren said he was “not worried” about his daughter’s future, according to Lau’s translation.
“My daughter is a very optimistic person,” Ren told Chinese television, according to Lau. “Every time I call her, she says she’s very busy. A very rich life.”
Ren said Meng is studying “five or six subjects” and “will get a doctorate in jail,” Lau reported.
Lau said it’s possible Ren was referring to Meng’s house arrest as “jail.”
Since Meng was first arrested back in December, Huawei has denied any wrongdoing and maintained its executive’s innocence. The arrest has already escalated tensions between US and China, with China retaliating by arresting two Canadian citizens and threatening further consequences.
The relationship between the US and Huawei, however, has continued to sour. US prosecutors have since added charges against Meng and Huawei, including counts of bank and wire fraud, stealing trade secrets, and obstructing justice.
The US has also taken action against Huawei related to concerns that the Chinese company’s technology is being used as a backdoor for spying by the Chinese government. The US Department of Commerce recently added Huawei to a trade blacklist that prevents the company from buying parts and components from American companies without US government approval, although the government has temporarily loosened its restrictions to allow Huawei to work with its existing customers.
The blacklist led to Google and other tech suppliers cutting their ties with Huawei, which could dramatically affect the company’s operations and smartphone production. (Google confirmed on Tuesday that its suspension of Android services is on hold, however.)
Ren, Huawei’s founder, also told Chinese TV on Tuesday that his company is “fully prepared” for an inevitable conflict with the US.
“Blame should be directed at US politicians, not companies,” he said.