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Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou Reaches Deal With US To Resolve Fraud Charges

The deal, which allowed Meng to return to China, could lead to a end a nearly three-year legal saga that has complicated relations between the United States, China and Canada.

Meng left Canada on Friday on a Chinese government-chartered flight to China, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

In a long article on his WeChat account on Saturday, Meng described his tears as his flight from Vancouver to Shenzhen crossed the North Pole and praised the ruling Chinese Communist Party. A CNN source saw the post which is not open to the public.

“As we get closer to home, I feel more and more moved, tears come to my eyes. Under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, our homeland is heading for prosperity. Without this strong homeland, I would not. wouldn’t have my freedom today, “she wrote. “I thank my beloved homeland, and I thank the Party and the government (…) for turning on a light during my darkest hours and guiding me on my long journey home.”

After his release, two Canadians held by China for nearly three years were also released, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday.

The US case revolved around whether Meng, who is also the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, had misled HSBC about Huawei’s relationship with an Iranian subsidiary, Skycom, which the United States claims , could have put the bank at risk of sanctions violations.

Meng appeared virtually in court in Brooklyn, New York, and pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and wire fraud.

However, as part of the deal, Meng confirmed that the statement of facts in the deferred prosecution agreement is true. These facts include that she misrepresented Huawei’s relationship with Skycom at HSBC, according to court documents. If she says or suggests otherwise, it could violate the terms of the agreement and lead to prosecution.

“By entering into the deferral of prosecution agreement, Meng has assumed responsibility for his lead role in the commission of a scheme to defraud a global financial institution,” Acting US Attorney Boeckmann said in a statement on Friday.

The statement of facts that Meng admits could contribute to the ongoing US case against Huawei. (Huawei declined to comment for this story.)

Assistant US Attorney David Kessler told the court that the parties have reached a deferred prosecution agreement until December 1, 2022. If Meng complies with the terms of the agreement, the US government will dismiss the charges against her on that date. .

District Judge Ann Donnelly accepted the deferred prosecution agreement at Friday’s hearing.

The Huawei and Meng team previously denied the US allegations, saying HSBC executives were aware of Huawei’s dealings with Skycom. They also claimed that the US case – which was filed amid former President Donald Trump’s trade war with China – was politically motivated.

Meng was arrested in December 2018 at Vancouver Airport at the request of the US government. She is living under house arrest in her multi-million dollar homes in the city as proceedings to extradite her to stand trial in the United States make their way through Canadian courts. Meng’s team also opposed the extradition; their arguments include allegations that Meng’s rights were violated during his arrest at the airport.

The plea deal allows for his personal bail, and DOJ plans to withdraw his request to extradite Meng from Canada, Kessler said.

The extradition procedure is coming to an end. Hearings in the case concluded last month and Canadian Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes said she would announce the date of her decision on Meng’s extradition during a court appearance on October 21. .

The Justice Department reportedly proposed a resolution last year to the deadlock that tricked Canada into the US charges against it.

Speaking at a press conference Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor boarded a plane bound for Canada at around 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday night and would land in Canada on Saturday.

Former diplomat Kovrig and businessman Spavor had been detained in China since late 2018. They were arrested for spying in China shortly after Meng’s arrest in Canada. However, China has always denied that the affairs were related in any way.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Meng Wanzhou was to plead guilty to the US charges. She pleaded not guilty, but as part of the deferred prosecution agreement she admitted a series of facts, including misrepresenting Huawei’s relationship with Skycom at HSBC.

Additional reporting by Steven Jiang of CNN and the Beijing Bureau.



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