US prosecutors reach deal to allow imprisoned Huawei exec to return to China

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Federal prosecutors on Friday announced a deal allowing for the release of an imprisoned Huawei executive.

The Department of Justice said in a statement that it has entered a deferred prosecution agreement with Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

Meng was arraigned in a Brooklyn federal court on Friday on charges of bank fraud and wire fraud.

Meng was arrested by Canadian authorities in 2018 at the request of the U.S. on charges of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Prosecutors alleged that Meng misrepresented Huawei’s relationship with its Iranian-based subsidiary Skycom to a global financial institution by referring to the company as a “local business partner.”

The financial institution continued to do business with Huawei and provided services that were prohibited, the Department of Justice (DOJ) alleged.

Meng has been in Vancouver for a trial over an extradition request by the United States.

Huawei and Meng’s team have denied the charges, arguing they were politically motivated. Meng was arrested during former President Trump’s trade war with China.

Under the agreement announced Friday, the DOJ will defer prosecution for four years from the date of Meng’s arrest in Canada and allow her to return China.

Meng admits that the allegations in the statement of facts are accurate, including that she misrepresented the company’s relationship with Skycom.

If she remains in compliance with the agreement, then the DOJ will move to dismiss the charges against her.

William Taylor, one of Meng’s lawyers, said in a statement that he is “very pleased” with the agreement.

“She has not pleaded guilty and we fully expect the indictment will be dismissed with prejudice after fourteen months. Now, she will be free to return home to be with her family,” Taylor said.

Huawei directed The Hill to Taylor’s statement, and had no further comment. 

Meng’s arrest sparked tensions between the U.S., Canada and China. Shortly after Meng’s arrest, Beijing detained two Canadian citizens — Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig — on espionage charges. Both the U.S. and Canada have urged China to release them.

Updated at 5:45 p.m.

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