The Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a deal Friday with a top executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei that allows her to return to China and concludes a high-profile fraud case that heightened tensions between the U.S. and China.
The DOJ said in a statement that prosecutors entered a deferred prosecution agreement with Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei. As part of the deal, disclosed in federal court in Brooklyn, the DOJ agreed to dismiss the fraud charges against Meng in December 2022 as long as she remains in compliance with the agreement.
Meng was arrested in Canada in December 2018 on a provisional U.S. extradition request for fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud in order to circumvent sanctions against Iran. The U.S. alleged that Meng misrepresented Huawei’s relationship with its Iran-based subsidiary Skycom to a financial institution by listing it as a “local business partner.”
Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou (C) talks to media at British Columbia Supreme Court after her extradition hearing ended in her favor, in Vancouver British Columbia, Canada on September 24, 2021 (Don MacKinnon/AFP via Getty Images)
Meng challenged the extradition request, and her lawyers claimed she was being used as a “bargaining chip” amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, The Associated Press (AP) reported .
The deal also follows an ongoing diplomatic spat between China and Canada, where Meng has remained since her arrest. Chinese authorities arrested two Canadian citizens, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, on espionage charges shortly after Meng was arrested in Vancouver. Both the U.S. and Canada have called on China to release them. (RELATED: Republican Lawmakers Demand Answers From Biden Admin On Huawei Security Threat)
As part of the agreement reached, the DOJ will defer prosecution and allow Meng to return to China. Meng also admitted the allegations in the statement of facts are accurate, including that she misrepresented Huawei’s relationship with Skycom.
William Taylor, one of Meng’s lawyers, said in a statement that he is “very pleased” with the outcome of the case.
“She has not pleaded guilty and we fully expect the indictment will be dismissed with prejudice after fourteen months. Now, she will be free to return home to be with her family,” he said.