US Drops Charges Against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou After 2021 Deal

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou. Image credit: Huawei

US prosecutors to dismiss charges against Meng Wanzhou, after last year’s deal where she admitted false statements about Iran business

The four year battle between US prosecutors and Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies, looks to be finally over.

Reuters reported that on Thursday US prosecutors asked a judge to dismiss bank fraud and other charges against Meng Wanzhou, whose 2018 arrest in Vancouver strained relations between Canada, the US and China.

Beijing retaliated with its own arrests of Canadian citizens – but denied playing hostage politics. China also sentenced another Canadian citizen to death.

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US deal

The US move on Thursday to dismiss the charges comes after Meng Wanzhou struck a deal with the US prosecutors in September last year for the charges against her to be dismissed on 1 December 2022 – four years from the date of her arrest in Canada on a US warrant.

Now according to Reuters, 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 US Attorney Carolyn Pokorny wrote in a 1 December letter to US District Judge Ann Donnelly.

The US had accused Meng 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 US sanctions.

As part of her deal reached last year with US authorities – a deferred prosecution agreement – Meng 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.

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

After years of house arrest, Meng returned to China from Canada on 24 September 2021, the day she struck the deal with US authorities.

The two Canadians arrested in China shortly after she was detained were then released, and two American siblings who had been prevented from leaving China were allowed to fly home.

The Canadian citizen sentenced to death for drug smuggling, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, has appealed his death sentence but that was denied on August 10, 2021.

The Supreme People’s Court in China has not yet decided whether the execution may take place.

Huawei case

Meanwhile the US deal with Meng Wanzhou does not extend to Huawei, which the US views as a national security threat and it remains on its ‘entity list’, restricting US suppliers from doing business with the company.

The charges against Huawei include everything from bank fraud, to sanctions busting, to conspiracy to steal trade secrets from US technology companies and obstructing justice.

Huawei has pleaded not guilty to these US charges.

The US case against Huawei is still pending in US District Court in Brooklyn, New York.

No trial date has yet been set, and a status conference is scheduled for 7 February 2023, Reuters reported.

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 US Federal Communications Commission adopted final rules banning new telecommunications equipment from Huawei.