Chinese tech executive Meng Wanzhou will not be extradited to the United States, a British Columbia court ruled today after Meng reached a postponement agreement with the US government.
The deal with U.S. prosecutors helped resolve the charges against the Huawei executive.
As part of the arrangement, Meng pleaded not guilty today in a US court to several fraud charges.
Huawei’s CFO argued in a virtual appearance in a New York courtroom. She was charged with bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud over two and a half years ago.
David Kessler, an attorney for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, told the court that the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) will last for four years – from the time of his arrest on December 1, 2018 until December 1, 2018. 1, 2022.
A copy of the agreement has not yet been made public.
Kessler said if Meng complies with her obligations, the United States will decide to dismiss the charges against her at the end of the deferral period. If she doesn’t, she can still be sued.
Kessler also said that once the DPA was accepted, the United States would “promptly” notify the Canadian justice minister that it was withdrawing the extradition request.
WATCH | Meng Wangzhou speaks after appearing in British Columbia court
The agreed statement of facts during Friday’s US court appearance says Meng told a global financial institution that a company operating in Iran in violation of US sanctions was a “local partner” of Huawei as he It was in fact a subsidiary of Huawei.
“By entering into the deferral of prosecution agreement, Meng has assumed responsibility for his lead role in the commission of a scheme to defraud a global financial institution,” Acting US Attorney Nicole Boeckmann said in a statement.
“Sorry for the inconvenience”, said Meng
Later Friday afternoon, BC Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes formally ended the Canadian proceedings, signing an order dismissing the US extradition request and quashing the Meng’s bail conditions.
She spoke directly to Meng before ending a hearing that lasted less than 15 minutes.
âYou have been cooperative and courteous throughout the process and the court appreciates and thanks you,â said Holmes.
Outside the courtroom, Meng read prepared remarks while flanked by her legal team. She thanked Holmes for his “fairness” during the proceedings.
âI also appreciate the tribunal for its professionalism and the Canadian government for upholding the rule of law,â Meng said.
“I am also grateful to the Canadian people and friends of the media for your tolerance. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
“Meng Wanzhou is free to leave Canada”
In a statement released this evening, the Federal Justice Department confirmed that “Meng Wanzhou is free to leave Canada.”
âCanada is a country of the rule of law,â the statement said. âMeng Wanzhou benefited from a fair process in court in accordance with Canadian law. This speaks to the independence of the Canadian justice system. “
U.S. prosecutors have also credited the Canadian justice system for its commitment to the court process.
“We are extremely grateful to the Department of Justice Canada for their dedicated work on this extradition and for their unwavering commitment to the rule of law,” said Acting Deputy Attorney General Mark J. Lesko.
Questions turn to the liberation of Canadians
Today’s developments could mark a new phase in the strained relationship between the Canadian and Chinese governments.
Meng, 49, was arrested at Vancouver International Airport on December 1, 2018, in connection with a US extradition request over allegations that she lied to a Hong Kong banker in August 2013 about Huawei’s control of a subsidiary accused of violating US sanctions against Iranian.
Days later, Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were detained in China in what is widely viewed as Beijing’s retaliatory act against Canada.
The two men were charged with espionage. Spavor was sentenced to 11 years in prison. Kovrig has not yet been convicted; his trial ended in March.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the accusations “fabricated”. China has long insisted that Spavor and Kovrig’s cases are unrelated to Meng’s case.
Colin Robertson, who has served as a Canadian diplomat in China, said he expects talks between Washington and Beijing to focus on returning the two men to their homes.
âYou will get the plea from Meng Wanzhou, and then at a later date we would see both Michaels sent back to Canada, but I wouldn’t expect that to follow in a matter of days,â he told The Early. CBC Edition.
“It would be a negotiation involving Canada, but it would mainly be between the United States and China.”