Crime & Justice

Huawei’s Meng is free after reaching accord with US prosecutors

New York, Sep 24 (EFE).- The United States dropped its request for the extradition from Canada of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on fraud charges after the parties agreed on a deferred prosecution deal, the US Department of Justice said Friday.

Soon after the accord was announced, a Canadian judge signed an order allowing Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, to leave for China after spending nearly three years under house arrest.

Meng, now 49, was detained by Canada on Dec. 1, 2018, during a stopover in Vancouver en route from Hong Kong to Mexico City.

Washington asked the Canadians to arrest her on charges that she violated US sanctions on Iran by misleading banks about the business her company allegedly conducted in that country through a subsidiary called Skycom.

On Friday, the Huawei executive pleaded not guilty during an appearance via video-link before a federal judge in New York.

But she also submitted a statement of fact that largely conceded the truth of the accusations.

“In entering into the deferred prosecution agreement, Meng has taken responsibility for her principal role in perpetrating a scheme to defraud a global financial institution,” the acting US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Nicole Boeckmann, said in a statement.

“Meng’s admissions confirm the crux of the government’s allegations in the prosecution of this financial fraud – that Meng and her fellow Huawei employees engaged in a concerted effort to deceive global financial institutions, the US government and the public about Huawei’s activities in Iran,” the prosecutor said.

As long as Meng complies with the deferred prosecution pact, the US will drop the charges against her on Dec. 1, 2022.

Meng was released on bail 10 days after her arrest and resided with her family in one of the two mansions she owns in Vancouver. She was required to wear a GPS ankle bracelet and pay for her own 24/7 surveillance.

After Meng’s arrest, China froze diplomatic and trade relations with Canada and accused Ottawa of violating the human rights of one of its citizens.

Beijing also detained two Canadian citizens – former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor – on allegations of endangering China’s national security.

The two men were tried in March on charges of acquiring and selling state secrets to “foreign forces.”

Spavor was sentenced last month to 11 years in prison, while the verdict in Kovrig’s case has yet to be announced.

A Chinese government spokesperson said last year that suspension of Meng’s extradition “could open up space for resolution to the situation of the two Canadians.” EFE


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