After more than 1,000 days under house arrest in Canada on charges of bank fraud, Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is back to China; the “motherland” on Saturday, following an agreement reached with US prosecutors.
The agreement to end the bank fraud case against her relieves a point of tension between China and the United States.
Meng was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 on a US warrant, and was indicted on bank and wire fraud charges for allegedly misleading HSBC in 2013 about the telecommunications equipment giant’s business dealings in Iran.
Her arrest sparked a diplomatic storm and drew Canada into the fray when China arrested two Canadians, a businessman and a former diplomat, shortly after Meng was taken into custody. Beijing has denied publicly that the arrests are linked.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a news conference on Friday said Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were released a few hours after Meng’s release.
Trudeau describing the incident as “an unbelievably difficult ordeal” said “It is good news for all of us that they are on their way home to their families”. “For the past 1,000 days, they have shown strength, perseverance, resilience and grace,” he added.
The US justice department said in a statement that it was continuing to prepare for trial against Huawei, which is still on a trade blacklist.
Huawei, the largest telecom equipment maker in the world, founded by Meng’s father Ren Zhengfei, said in a statement that it would continue to defend itself against U.S. charges.
In 2019, the US imposed sanctions on Huawei and placed it on an export blacklist, cutting it off from key technologies.
The UK, Sweden, Australia and Japan have also banned Huawei, while other countries including France and India have adopted measures stopping short of an outright ban.