Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s CEO, returns to China after a deal with the US

Image credit: Al Jazeera

Following years of diplomatic tensions over her fate, a Chinese technology executive jailed in Canada on US fraud accusations has departed the country after reaching an agreement with prosecutors.

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s top financial officer, was detained in December 2018 at the behest of the United States on fraud accusations.

Her extradition request was dismissed by the US Department of Justice on Friday. China was enraged by the case, which damaged relations with the United States and Canada.

According to the AFP news agency, she boarded an Air China flight heading for the Chinese city of Shenzhen shortly after. Negotiations between US and Chinese diplomats have been strained over the details of a prospective arrangement for Ms Meng’s release.

Ms. Meng is accused of deceiving HSBC about the true nature of Huawei’s business with Skycom, placing the bank in jeopardy of breaking US sanctions against Iran.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Friday that a deferred prosecution agreement had been reached.

This means that the Department of Justice will not prosecute Ms. Meng until December 2022. The case would finally be dismissed if she followed the court’s stipulations.

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Ms. Meng is the oldest daughter of Ren Zhengfei, the entrepreneur who founded Huawei in 1987. The firm is presently the world’s largest manufacturer of telecom equipment.

He was a member of the Chinese Communist Party and served in the Chinese army for nine years, until 1983.

Huawei has been accused of allowing the Chinese government to utilise its technology for espionage, which it denies.

Experts argue that while Ms. Meng’s agreement with the US may open the path for the release of the two Canadians, tensions in China-Canada ties will not go away immediately. Since Meng’s arrest, the bilateral relationship has sunk to new lows.

The United States’ charges against Huawei have not been dropped, and the business remains on a trade blacklist. Other Chinese internet businesses with US operations, like TikTok, a popular social media platform, are also being scrutinised.

Many Chinese enterprises were hopeful that Ms. Meng’s arrangement with the US would mean no further deterioration of US-China relations, according to Chinese tech sector expert Rui Ma, “but no one is taking that to suggest that there is a turnaround in tensions.”

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