US prosecutors asked a judge on Thursday to dismiss bank fraud and other charges against a senior Huawei official arrested and held in Canada for several years.
The arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies, in 2018 arrest greatly strained relations between China, the US and Canada.
Meng struck a deal with the prosecutors in September 2021 for the charges against her to be dismissed on December 1, 2022, four years from the date of her arrest in Canada on a US warrant.
With no information that 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 December 1 letter to US District Judge Ann Donnelly.
Huawei, a telecom equipment maker the US views as a national security threat, is still charged in the case, which is pending in US District Court in Brooklyn, New York. No trial date has yet been set, and a status conference is scheduled for February 7.
While Thursday’s move was expected, it closes a chapter on a particularly fraught phase of US-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 about the company’s business in Iran to obtain banking services in violation of US 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.
US Trade Blacklist
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. It has pleaded not guilty.
In the wake of its alleged activities, Huawei was added to a US trade blacklist, restricting US 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 US 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 September 24, 2021, the day she struck the deal. 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.
A lawyer for Meng declined comment and a spokesperson for Huawei did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard