Meng Wanzhou has been specifically accused of “bank fraud” by the United States. (Photo: The Canadian Press)
After a protracted legal battle and tensions between Beijing, Washington and Ottawa, US justice on Friday ratified a deal between Washington and Huawei that placed the Chinese telecom giant’s financial director under house arrest in Canada for three years.
During a public hearing at Brooklyn Federal Court in New York, U.S. Justice Department Representative David Kessler proposed “postponing” the “litigations” against Financial Director Meng Wanzhou that began in late 2018 until December 1, 2022. Specifically for “conspiracy” to commit “bank fraud”.
Mr Kessler specified that his ministry would recommend “release” Meng Wanzhou without payment of financial guarantees to the Canadian authorities, and that it would in fact do justice to any request for extradition to the United States there. will leave for .
Meng Wanzhou, 49, daughter of telecom giant Huawei’s founder, was arrested at Vancouver airport on December 1, 2018 at the request of Washington, who specifically wanted to try her for “bank fraud”.
Meng Wanzhou appeared from afar, by video, and spoke in Mandarin. Under the terms of the agreement with the US government – which was first unveiled by the Wall Street Journal on Friday – the CFO pleaded “not guilty” to the lawsuits against him.
After more than an hour of hearing, a federal court judge in Brooklyn Ann Donnelly formally accepted the settlement, which she described as “serious.”
According to a representative of the United States Department of Justice, the lawsuits will be dropped if the agreement is not challenged or breached by December 1, 2022 (four years after the chief financial officer’s arrest).
With the acceptance of this legal transaction, the three-year legal battle and sometimes very strong economic and political tensions between Beijing, Washington and Ottawa should end.
US justice accused the Chinese telecom giant’s No. 2 of lying to an HSBC Bank executive during a meeting in Hong Kong in 2013 about ties between the Chinese conglomerate and a subsidiary called Skycom, which sold equipment to Iran, founded exposed to US sanctions.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Huawei’s chief financial officer would have agreed in the details of the deal to recognize some minor “flaws” in exchange for a “postponement”, then “abandoning” the bank fraud allegations.
The applicant has always denied these allegations.
The Chinese government has speculated since 2018 that the US administration – at the time of then-President Donald Trump – was seeking to undermine Huawei, a cutting-edge Chinese company and world leader in 5G equipment and networks that was unrivaled on the US side.
In recent weeks, Ms Meng’s lawyers have argued again that the United States has brought an “outrageous” lawsuit against her client.
Canada was in a way embroiled in a Sino-US turmoil, recalled the Wall Street Journal, which speculated that the deal between Washington and Beijing resulted in a businessman as well as a former diplomat, both Canadians, from China. Were detained in: Michael Spavor sentenced to 11 years on charges of espionage and Michael Kovrig sentenced to 11 years in China for detention and awaiting verdict.
According to the US daily, Joe Biden’s administration will resume consultations on the Huawei file, especially in light of Ms Meng’s desire to find her family in China, after nearly three years of extortion in Canada.
The deal also comes a week after the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom announced a spectacular announcement to supply Canberra with nuclear-powered submarines. A huge contract for France’s Chirag, which signed the first contract with Australia for thermal-propelled submarines – and which sparked the anger of China, which sees it as an act of hostility to Western nations.
Two Canadian nationals, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, have been in custody in China for nearly three years in what many see as retaliation for Ms Meng’s arrest.
While China has publicly argued that there is no connection between the Meng case and MM’s imprisonment. Kovrig and Spavor, she indicated, that if she were allowed to be released, it might be favorable to both Canadian men.
Chinese Ambassador to Canada Kang Peiwu reiterated the idea in an interview with The Canadian Press earlier this month.
“I would like to suggest, as I always insist, that if the Canadian side can take firm action to rectify its mistake and release Ms Meng as soon as possible, it will certainly be beneficial for both our countries. Will help normalize relations between them,” Mr Congress had said.
Earlier this year, both M. Kovrig and Spavor were convicted of espionage in closed Chinese courts – a process that Canada and dozens of allies say is arbitrary detention on false charges in a closed court system without accountability. to take in.
Mr Spavor was sentenced to 11 years in prison, fueling speculation that he could easily be deported by China. Mr Kovrig has not yet been convicted.
MM Spavor and Kovrig are not allowed to see their families or lawyers (except in the case of their separate trials earlier this summer) and have been limited to once a month by Canadian diplomats.
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