Huawei CFO Returns to China After Deal With US Prosecutors | Business and Economy News
Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou has reached a deal with U.S. prosecutors to end the bank fraud case against her, officials said. This decision allows him to leave Canada, relieving a point of tension between China and the United States.
A person familiar with the matter told Reuters news agency that Meng was returning to China on Friday evening.
Images released in Canada also showed Meng boarding a flight to the city of Shenzhen shortly after being released during a court hearing in Vancouver, according to the AFP news agency.
The South China Morning Post also confirmed the report saying that about two hours after the court ruling, Meng boarded an unscheduled Air China 777 flight that took off from Vancouver International Airport at 4:29 p.m. local hour.
The years-long extradition drama has been a central source of contention in the increasingly rocky relationship between Beijing and Washington, with Chinese officials signaling the case must be dropped to help end a stalemate diplomatic relations between the two greatest powers in the world.
The deal also exposes US President Joe Biden to criticism from Chinese hawks in Washington who claim his administration is capitulating to China and one of its major companies at the center of a global tech rivalry between the two countries.
Meng was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 under a US warrant and charged with bank and wire fraud for allegedly misleading HSBC in 2013 about the business dealings of the telecommunications equipment giant in Iran.
His arrest sparked a diplomatic storm and dragged Canada into the fray when China arrested two Canadians, a businessman and a former diplomat, shortly after Meng’s arrest.
Beijing has publicly denied that the arrests were related.
In an exclusive Friday, Reuters reported that the United States had reached a deferred prosecution agreement with Meng.
Nicole Boeckmann, the acting US lawyer in Brooklyn, said that in entering into the deal, “Meng assumed responsibility for his lead role in the commission of a scheme to defraud a global financial institution.”
The deal only concerns Meng, and the US Department of Justice has said it is preparing for a lawsuit against Huawei and is eager to prove its case in court.
A Huawei spokeswoman declined to comment.
Sigh of relief
In a hearing in Brooklyn federal court on Friday, which Meng attended virtually from Canada, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Kessler said the government would decide to dismiss the charges against her, if she was complying with all of its obligations under the agreement, which ends in December. 2022.
He added that Meng will be released on personal bail and that the United States plans to withdraw their extradition request to Canada.
Meng – the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei – pleaded not guilty to the charges during the hearing.
When United States District Court Judge Ann Donnelly later agreed to the deferred prosecution agreement, Meng audibly sighed.
A Canadian judge then signed Meng’s release order, ending his bail conditions and allowing him to free himself after nearly three years of house arrest.
She was emotional after the judge’s order, hugging and thanking her lawyers.
Then speaking to supporters and reporters on the steps of the courthouse, Meng thanked the judge for her “fairness” and explained how the case had turned her life “upside down”.
Beyond resolving a dispute between the United States and China, the deal could also pave the way for the release of the two Canadians, businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig, detained in China.
In August, a Chinese court sentenced Spavor to 11 years in prison for espionage.