Lawyer: Huawei executive 'should not be a hostage' to U.S.-China relations

Lawyer: Huawei executive 'should not be a hostage' to U.S.-China relations
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A lawyer representing Huawei's chief financial officer on Tuesday urged U.S. prosecutors to not hold Meng Wanzhou "hostage" to U.S.-China relations after Wanzhou was charged with conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions in Iran.

Meng's lawyer Reid Weingarten told Reuters that his client was an "ethical" businesswoman and pointed to strained relations between the Trump administration and China as the real reason for her arrest.

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“Our client, Sabrina Meng, should not be a pawn or a hostage in this relationship," he said. "Ms. Meng is an ethical and honorable businesswoman who has never spent a second of her life plotting to violate any U.S. law, including the Iranian sanctions.”

Meng's company Huawei on Monday was charged with 10 counts including conspiracy to steal trade secrets, wire fraud and obstruction of justice, in addition to the firm's charges for violation of the sanctions on Iran reimposed by the Trump administration, the Justice Department said.

"Huawei and its senior executives repeatedly refused to respect the laws of the United States and standard international business practices,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said Monday at a press conference.

“Huawei also intentionally and systematically sought to steal valuable intellectual property from an American company, so it could circumvent hard-earned, time-consuming research and gain an unfair market advantage,” he added, accusing Huawei of “dishonest business practices.”

The White House has maintained that the charges against Huawei and Meng are unrelated to the Trump administration's ongoing trade dispute with China. A 30-day truce on new trade actions began in January, with the White House pursuing a deal with Chinese officials to address what the U.S. says are unfair trade practices.

The charges “are not linked, they’re a totally separate process" from the trade negotiations, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said this month.