After spending three years under house arrest, Huawei’s chief financial officer – and daughter of the Chinese tech giant’s founder – will be released in Canada, where she was detained in December 2018 following an extradition request issued by the United States.
On Friday, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) could withdraw the request against Meng Wanzhou after the parties reached a deferred prosecution agreement that could lead to the definitive withdrawal of the charges.
This means that the DOJ will refrain from prosecuting Meng until at least December 2022. If he meets the conditions set by the court by then, the case will be dropped.
Under this agreement, your extradition case in Canada will be dismissed and it could be released immediately.
Prosecutors also recommended that Meng be released on personal recognition bond, which will allow her to be released without any guarantees.
The United States alleged that Meng misled HSBC bank about the true nature of Huawei’s relationship with a company called Skycom, putting the bank at risk of violating US sanctions against Iran.
This case, which unleashed an international dispute that strained China’s relations with the United States and Canada, it has been marked by intense negotiations between US and Chinese diplomats.
Accusations against Huawei
Meng is the eldest daughter of billionaire Ren Zhengfei, who founded Huawei in 1987 and made it one of the largest technology firms in the world.
Huawei has faced accusations that Chinese authorities could use its equipment for espionage, something that Beijing denies.
In 2019, the US imposed sanctions on Huawei and placed it on an export blacklist, excluding it from key technologies.
The UK, Sweden, Australia and Japan have also banned the use of Huawei’s technology, while other countries, including France and India, have taken steps that fall short of a total ban.
A few days after Meng was arrested in 2018, China detained two Canadian citizens, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, on suspicion of espionage.
In Canada they have accused China of treating them as a political bargaining chip, using them as part of what is known as “hostage diplomacy”, something that Beijing also denies.
Last month, a Chinese court sentenced Michael Spavor to 11 years in prison.
Canada rejected the sentence, saying that the businessman’s trial did not meet even the minimum standards required by international law.
Like many of Huawei’s top managers, until his arrest Meng Wanzhou kept up a low public profile.
Until a few years ago it was not even known that she was the daughter of the founder of Huawei.
However, more intimate details of his life were revealed in the court following his case.
Meng went from answering phones to running the finances of the world’s second-largest cell phone producer in less than two decades.
In 1993 he began his career as a receptionist and, after completing a master’s degree in accounting from Huanzhong University of Science and Technology, in 1999 he joined the ranks of Huawei, where rose through the ranks of China’s largest private company.
Once in the finance department, she was named the company’s chief financial officer in 2011 and promoted to vice president a few months before her arrest.
The promotion sparked speculation that Meng Wanzhou was being groomed to lead the company.
In 2018, Forbes magazine ranked her as the 12th most powerful female executive in China.
Change of surname
Until shortly before his arrest, the ties he had with his father and Huawei founder, Ren Zhangfei, were unknown.
At age 16, in a very unusual measure in Chinese tradition, Meng Wanzhou he adopted his mother’s last name, Meng Jun, who was Ren’s first wife.
Chinese executives working abroad often adopt a Western name for their overseas activities, so Meng Wanzhou is also known as Sabrina Meng and Cathy Meng.
Meng, who has four children and has been married twice, testified in court that he was a resident of Canada until 2009, when he returned to China.
Two of her children attended school in Vancouver between 2009 and 2012, while her husband was studying for a master’s degree in that city.
Once the sons graduated, Meng would spend “many weeks, sometimes months” in Vancouver during the summer, the affidavits explained.