U.S. dismissing charges against Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou


U.S. prosecutors on Thursday asked a judge to dismiss bank fraud and other charges against Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies whose 2018 arrest strained relations not only between the U.S. and China, but also Canada and China.

Meng struck a deal with the prosecutors last year for the charges against her to be dismissed on Dec. 1, 2022, four years from the date of her arrest in British Columbia on a U.S. warrant, as Reuters reported first.

With no information Meng violated the deal, “the government respectfully moves to dismiss the third superseding indictment in this case as to defendant Wanzhou Meng,” Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Carolyn Pokorny wrote in a Dec. 1 letter to U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly.

While Thursday’s move was expected, it closes a chapter on a particularly fraught phase of U.S.-China relations that also thrust Canada into the middle of a broader clash between the two superpowers.

Meng had been accused of bank fraud and other crimes for misleading global bank HSBC Holdings Plc about the company’s business in Iran to obtain banking services in violation of U.S. sanctions.

As part of her deal — a deferred prosecution agreement — she acknowledged that she had made false statements about the company’s Iran business in a 2013 meeting with a bank executive.

Meng’s untrue statements were in a statement of facts that she agreed was accurate and voluntary and would not contradict.

Huawei still faces charges

Huawei, a telecommunications equipment maker the U.S. views as a national security threat, is still charged in the case, which is pending in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, N.Y. No trial date has yet been set, and a status conference is scheduled for Feb. 7.

The charges against Huawei include everything from bank fraud to sanctions busting to conspiracy to steal trade secrets from U.S. technology companies and obstructing justice. It has pleaded not guilty.

WATCH | Canada makes long-awaited decision on Huawei:

Canada bans China’s Huawei from 5G network

The federal government has announced it will ban Chinese telecom giant Huawei from accessing Canada’s 5G network over concerns for national security.

In the wake of its alleged activities, Huawei was added to a U.S. trade-ban list, restricting U.S. suppliers from doing business with the company.

The United States also waged a global campaign against Huawei, warning that the Chinese government could use the company’s equipment to spy.

Just this week, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission adopted final rules banning new telecommunications equipment from Huawei. 

Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, now serves as the company’s rotating chairwoman and deputy chairwoman as well as its chief financial officer.

She flew to China from Canada on Sept. 24, 2021, the day she struck the deal. Two Canadians arrested in China shortly after she was detained were then released — Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor — and two American siblings who had been prevented from leaving China were allowed to fly home.

Months after the two Canadians were released, Ottawa followed its Five Eyes security allies such as Britain and Australia by banning Huawei from Canadian 5G networks.

A lawyer for Meng declined comment and a spokesperson for Huawei did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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