Meng Wanzhou

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou returns to China

Meng Wanzhou was freed after three years of house arrest in Canada

Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou returned to China Saturday shortly after two Canadians released from prison in China arrived in Calgary, ending a diplomatic row that has dragged on for three years.

Earlier Saturday, the two detained Canadians arrived back in Calgary, western Canada, and were greeted and hugged by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Meng Wanzhou was freed after three years of house arrest in Canada, following an agreement with the US justice department to suspend the fraud charges against her. Meng – Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of the giant corporation’s founder – was granted release in a Vancouver court hearing, hours after US prosecutors announced an agreement in New York.

She then quickly boarded a flight to the city of Shenzhen, returning to China for the first time since her arrest in Vancouver’s international airport at the behest of US authorities in 2018. She had been under house arrest since, monitored by a private security company she pays for as part of her bail agreement.

“Over the past three years, my life has been turned upside down. It was a disruptive time for me as a mother, wife and a company executive,” she told reporters outside the court.

“But I believe every cloud has a silver lining. It really was an invaluable experience in my life. The saying goes, the greater the difficulty, the greater the growth.”

Under the deal, Meng’s prosecution will be deferred until December next year and will be dropped entirely if she complies with her obligations. One of those obligations was not to contradict a statement of facts she signed as her part of the deal, while maintaining her plea of not guilty, or suggest that she signed it involuntarily.

The US justice department will then drop its extradition proceedings against her and its attorney, David Kessler recommended she be released on bail.

Meng’s lawyer William Taylor said:

“She has not pleaded guilty and we fully expect the indictment will be dismissed with prejudice after 14 months. Now, she will be free to return home to be with her family.”

Meng was facing charges of bank fraud in the United States for allegedly misleading HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, causing the bank to violate U.S. sanctions.

She has been under house arrest in Vancouver, Canada, since her arrest at the airport there in December 2018.

Her arrest caused a chill in relations between Beijing and Ottawa, and soon afterwards China detained two Canadians, who continue to have limited access to legal counsel or diplomatic officials.

A statement from Huawei said:

“We look forward to seeing Ms Meng returning home safely to be reunited with her family. Huawei will continue to defend itself against the allegations in the US district court for the eastern district of New York.”

At the airport in Shenzhen, Meng’s hometown, a crowd of well-wishers chanted patriotic slogans and held aloft red banners to welcome her return.

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