Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has struck a deal with U.S. prosecutors to drop the charges of bank fraud she was facing extradition from Canada to the U.S. for, report sources close to the matter (via Reuters).
Wanzhou faces fraud charges in the U.S. for allegedly misleading an HSBC executive in Hong Kong as to Huawei’s relationship with Skycom, a subsidiary that had violated economic sanctions against Iran back in 2013.
The Huawei CFO had been on the business end of an almost three-year-long legal battle against extradition in Canada, ever since she was arrested at the Vancouver International Airport in December 2018. Extradition hearings concluded back in August, with the date for a ruling slated to be set on October 21.
According to a court filing from earlier today, the U.S. government has said it will soon appear in Brooklyn federal court to discuss a resolution of the U.S.’s charges against Meng. According to two sources close to the matter, the agreement only absolves Meng — the U.S.’s charges against Huawei will remain.
Towards the end of 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice was reported to be working on a deal that would enable the Huawei CFO’s free return to China without being extradited from Canada. This agreement could very well be a culmination of those proceedings.
#MengWanzhou leaves her lawyer’s downtown #Vancouver office after US hearing finishes with #Huawei CFO’s plea deal. She took a celebratory picture with a couple associates in the lobby before entering her SUV w local bodyguards. Due up the street at BC Supreme Court at 2pm. pic.twitter.com/KpCSAKbNEV
— Mike Hager (@MikePHager) September 24, 2021
If the U.S. drops charges against Meng, her free return to China could facilitate the release of two Canadians, businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig, who have been detained in China since their arrest shortly after Meng’s. A resolution of the matter will also eliminate a sizable bone of contention between economic superpowers China and the United States.
Update Sept. 24, 2021, 9:50pm PDT: According to CTV News, China has released detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, now that the charges against Meng have been dropped.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed both Michaels were on a plane flying back to Canada, as of 4:30pm PDT/7:30pm EDT, leaving Chinese airspace and on the way back home.
“These two men have gone through an unbelievably difficult ordeal. For the past 1,000 days they have shown strife, perseverance, resilience, and grace — and we are all inspired by that,” said Trudeau. “I want to thank their families who’ve been there for them, supporting them in every way they could, and supporting in the work we’ve done to secure their release,” added the Prime Minister.