Canadians home after Huawei CFO resolves US charges

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hugged two Canadians who landed in Canada on Saturday, in what amounted to a high-stakes prisoner swap involving the US and Canada involving China.

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Trudeau greets Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor after their plane landed in Calgary, Alberta, early Saturday. The men were arrested in China in December 2018, after Canada arrested Meng on a US extradition request. Many countries termed China’s action as “hostage politics”.

Live footage on CTV’s news network showed Trudeau hugging the two men in the early hours of the morning.

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The two left China and flew from Canada to China after a top executive of Chinese communications giant Huawei Technologies reached a settlement with the US Justice Department over fraud allegations.

The chain of events involving global powers brought an abrupt end to the legal and geopolitical wrangling that has plagued relations between Washington, Beijing and Ottawa for the past three years. The three-way deal enabled China and Canada to bring home their own detained citizens, while the US wrapped up a criminal case against a prominent Chinese tech executive who has been embroiled in an extradition battle for months.

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The first activity occurred Friday afternoon when Meng Wanzhou 49, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the company’s founder’s daughter, reached a settlement with federal prosecutors that sought to drop the fraud charges against her next year and allow her to return to China immediately. called upon. . As part of the deal, known as the Deferred Prosecution Agreement, he accepted responsibility for misrepresenting the company’s business deals in Iran.

“These two men have gone through an incredibly difficult ordeal. For the past 1,000 days, he has shown strength, perseverance and grace and we are all inspired by that,” Trudeau said in a hastily convened news conference late Friday.

News of Meng’s pending return was a top item on the Chinese Internet and state broadcaster CCTV’s Midday News report, with no mention of Kovrig and Spavor’s release.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian reposted a report on Meng leaving Canada on social media, adding, “Welcome home.”

Video also circulated online of Meng speaking at Vancouver International Airport, which stated; “Thank you motherland, thank you people of the motherland. You have been my biggest pillar of support.”

The deal came as President Joe Biden and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping sought to ease signs of public tension – even as the world’s two major economies continue to face issues as diverse as cyber security, climate change, human rights and trade and tariffs. are on the issues. Biden said in an address before the UN General Assembly earlier this week that he had no intention of starting a “new Cold War”, while Xi told world leaders that disputes between countries should be resolved “through dialogue and cooperation”. needs to be handled.”

“The US government stands with the international community in welcoming the decision of the People’s Republic of China authorities to release Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig after more than two and a half years of arbitrary detention. We are delighted that they are returning to Canada,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

As part of the deal with Meng, which was disclosed in federal court in Brooklyn, the Justice Department agreed to drop the fraud charges against him in December 2022—just four years after his arrest—provided that He must comply with certain conditions, including not contesting elections. Any factual allegation of Govt. The Justice Department also agreed to drop its request that Meng be extradited to the US, which it vigorously challenged, ending a process that prosecutors said could continue for months.

After appearing via videoconference for her hearing in New York, Meng made a brief court appearance in Vancouver, where she was out on bail living in a multimillion-dollar mansion, while two Canadians were in Chinese jail cells. where the lights were kept. 24 hours a day.

Outside the courtroom, Meng thanked the Canadian government for upholding the rule of law, expressed gratitude to the Canadian people and apologized “for the inconvenience caused to me”.

“My life has been turned upside down in the last three years,” she said. “It was a disruptive time for me as a mother, wife and a company executive. But I believe that every cloud has a silver lining. It was truly a priceless experience in my life. I will never forget all the wishes I have received.”

Shortly afterwards Meng flew on an Air China flight to Shenzhen, China, where Huawei is headquartered.

Huawei is the largest global supplier of network gear to phone and Internet companies. It has been a symbol of China’s progress in becoming a technological world power – and has been the subject of US security and law enforcement concerns. Some analysts say Chinese companies have violated international rules and norms and plagiarized technology.

The case against Meng stems from a January 2019 indictment by the Trump administration Justice Department that accused Huawei of stealing trade secrets and using a Hong Kong shell company called Skycom to sell equipment to Iran in violation of US sanctions. The indictment also accused Meng of committing fraud by misleading HSBC Bank about the company’s business deals in Iran.

The indictment comes amid the Trump administration’s sweeping crackdown against Huawei over US government concerns that the company’s products could facilitate Chinese espionage. Administration cuts off access to Huawei in the US

Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Meng Wanzhou

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