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Meng Wanzhou discharged by Canadian court after U.S. withdraws extradition request

Meng Wanzhou is free

UPDATE 2:25 p.m.

Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou has been officially discharged from her extradition case by judge Heather Holmes.

Holmes made the announcement after a brief hearing this afternoon in the wake of the U.S. reaching a deferred prosecution agreement with Meng that will allow the Chinese tech executive to return to China.

“It appears that this extradition proceeding has reached its final chapter,” said Crown counsel John Gibb-Carsley said after telling the court that the authority to proceed in the case has been withdrawn from the Attorney General’s Office.

Meng appeared in a virtual U.S. court proceeding this morning, where she pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud and money laundering. But prosecutors said that they have agreed to defer prosecution on the case to Dec.1, 2022 - exactly four years after her arrest in Vancouver.

As part of the agreement, Meng has agreed to a number of obligations. If she does not violate them before the 2022 date, U.S. prosecutors have agreed to drop the case against her.

Meng has also agreed not to challenge a statement of facts presented by prosecutors. Those statements include an admission where Meng knowingly misrepresented Huawei’s relationship with subsidiary Skycom to HSBC in 2013 - and that Meng failed to “retract or amend” any of the false statements.

”In entering into the deferred prosecution agreement, Meng has taken responsibility for her principal role in perpetrating a scheme to defraud a global financial institution,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicole Boeckmann for the Eastern District of New York in a written statement.

“This Deferred Prosecution Agreement will lead to the end of the ongoing extradition proceedings in Canada, which otherwise could have continued for many months, if not years,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark J. Lesko for the Justice Department’s National Security Division in the same U.S. statement.

Reports from last week indicated that a deal to defer her charges of fraud and money laundering from the United States was again under discussion between the two sides, and the Huawei executive‘s U.S. lawyers later confirmed a deal has in fact been reached. They also reiterated Meng remains confident in her innocence.

”I'm very pleased that Sabrina Meng and the U.S. Department of Justice have reached a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) and it has been approved by Judge Donnelly,” said lawyer William W. Taylor III.

“Under the terms of this agreement, Ms. Meng will not be prosecuted further in the United States and the extradition proceedings in Canada will be terminated. She has not pleaded guilty and we fully expect the indictment will be dismissed with prejudice after fourteen months. Now, she will be free to return home to be with her family.”

In U.S. court, authorities said they will now recommend the release of Meng on personal recognizance bond - and a withdrawal of the extradition request will be filed with the Canadian Department of Justice. U.S. judge Ann Donnelly accepted the agreement, officially setting in motion the likely end of Meng’s extradition case.

A personal recognizance, in U.S. legal terms, is “a release, without the requirement of a posting bail, based on a written promise by the defendant to appear in court when required to do so,” according to a description by the Cornell Law School.

On the Canadian front, B.C. Supreme Court has announced at 11:36 a.m. that a 2pm hearing on the extradition case will take place at the Vancouver courthouse. Given the developments, it is expected that Meng will have her extradition stayed. The Huawei CFO may be allowed to leave Canada after that.

Meng left her Shaughnessy home at approximately 9:19 a.m. this morning, escorted by Huawei officials and her usual court-appointed security detail. She did not respond to questions, simply greeting the photographers gathered at her driveway entrance with a “good morning, everyone.”

Legally, if a requesting state (in this case, the United States) drops its charges or extradition request, the person being extradited would be freed from the process - meaning Meng may potentially be able to return to China as soon as later today.

BIV has not received a response from the B.C. courthouse on today's hearings schedule. No Meng matter was listed on the BC Supreme Court appearances list released this morning.

Huawei representatives have not responded to requests for comment.

The Meng case has been one of the highest-profile extradition cases in Canadian history since her arrest in Vancouver on December 1, 2018. The case – where Canadian authorities arrested Meng on a U.S. extradition request – dragged Canada-China relations to an all-time low and put Ottawa in the middle of a global dispute between Washington and Beijing.

Meng has maintained her innocence regarding accusations of wrongdoing surrounding a Huawei subsidiary’s business dealings in Iran. She was originally scheduled to appear October 21 in a case-management hearing in her extradition proceedings to determine when Canadian courts will announce the decision on her case.

It is unclear at this point whether – if the Meng matter is resolved – the development will affect the possible release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians held by Beijing on espionage charges since Meng’s arrest in Canada.


UPDATE 11:45 a.m.

Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou and American prosecutors have agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement that will likely set the Chinese tech executive free to return to China.

Meng appeared in a virtual U.S. court proceeding this morning, where she pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud and money laundering. But prosecutors said that they have agreed to defer prosecution on the case to Dec.1, 2022—exactly four years after her arrest in Vancouver.

As part of the agreement, Meng has agreed to a number of obligations. If she does not violate them before the 2022 date, U.S. prosecutors have agreed to drop the case against her.

Meng has also agreed not to challenge a statement of facts presented by prosecutors.


ORIGINAL 10 a.m.

Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou will appear virtually in a U.S. court to resolve charges facing the Chinese tech executive, a source confirmed with BIV Friday.

According to the source close to the matter, Meng will appear in a federal court via online means sometime today. Reports from last week indicated that a deal to defer her charges of fraud and money laundering from the United States was again under discussion between the two sides.

There is also an indication that a hearing in Vancouver may take place this afternoon, allowing Meng to possibly "head home" after that.

Legally, if a requesting state (in this case, the United States) drops its charges or extradition request, the person being extradited would be freed from the process— meaning Meng may potentially be able to return to China as soon as later today.

BIV has not received a response from the BC courthouse on today's hearings schedule.

Huawei representatives have not responded to requests for comment.

The Meng case has been one of the highest-profile extradition cases in Canadian history since her arrest in Vancouver on Dec. 1, 2018. The case – where Canadian authorities arrested Meng on a U.S. extradition request – sunk Canada-China relations to an all-time low and put Ottawa in the middle of a global tilt between Washington and Beijing.

Meng has maintained her innocence regarding accusations of wrongdoing surrounding a Huawei subsidiary’s business dealings in Iran. She was originally scheduled to appear on Oct. 21 in a case-management hearing in her extradition proceedings to determine when Canadian courts will announce the decision on her case.

It is unclear at this point whether – if the Meng matter is resolved – the development will affect the possible release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians held by Beijing on espionage charges since Meng’s arrest in Canada.



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