US prosecutors on Thursday asked a judge to dismiss bank fraud and other charges against Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies, whose 2018 arrest strained US-China relations.
Meng struck a deal with prosecutors last year to drop charges against her on Dec. 1, 2022, four years after the date of her arrest in Canada on a U.S. warrant, Reuters first reported.
With no information that Meng violated the deal, “the government respectfully moves to dismiss the third surrogate charge in this case against defendant Wanzhou Meng,” Brooklyn U.S. attorney Carolyn Pokorny wrote in a Dec. 1 letter to U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly.
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 midst of a wider clash between the two superpowers.
Meng had been charged with bank fraud and other crimes for misleading global bank HSBC Holdings Plc about the company’s activities in Iran to obtain banking services in violation of US sanctions.
As part of her deal – a deferred prosecution agreement – she admitted to making false statements about the company’s activities in Iran during a meeting with a bank manager in 2013.
Meng’s untrue statements were in a statement of facts that she agreed was accurate, voluntary and would not contradict.
Huawei is still being sued
Huawei, a telecommunications equipment manufacturer considered by the US to be a threat to national security, is still facing charges in the case, which is pending in the US District Court in Brooklyn, NY. No trial date has yet been set and a status conference is scheduled for February. 7.
Charges against Huawei include everything from bank fraud to lifting sanctions to conspiracy to steal trade secrets from US tech companies and obstruction of justice. It pleaded not guilty.
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In the wake of its alleged activities, Huawei was added to a US trade ban list, barring US suppliers from doing business with the company.
The United States also launched a global campaign against Huawei, warning that the Chinese government could use the company’s equipment to spy.
This week, the US Federal Communications Commission passed 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 chairman and deputy chairman, as well as chief financial officer.
She flew to China from Canada on September 24, 2021, the day she closed the deal. Two Canadians arrested in China shortly after she was detained were subsequently released — Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor — and two American siblings who were banned from leaving China were allowed to fly home.
Months after the two Canadians were released, Ottawa followed its Five Eyes security allies like Britain and Australia by banning Huawei from Canadian 5G networks.
A lawyer for Meng declined to comment and a Huawei spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.