The long-running ordeal of Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou has come to a close, with a US judge issuing the order to dismiss all charges against the executive.
Reuters reports that U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly of Brooklyn dismissed the indictment with prejudice, meaning it cannot be brought again. The order brings a formal end to the criminal sanctions case that began with the August 2018 issue of an arrest warrant for Meng by a New York court.
While changing planes at Vancouver airport on 1st December 2018, Meng was detained by Canadian police at the request of US authorities and subsequently spent almost three years under house arrest in Canada. She stood accused of bank fraud, as well as misleading HSBC Holdings over Huawei’s activities in Iran.
US prosecutors argued that by obfuscating Huawei’s relationship with Iranian firm Skycom Tech, Meng put banks at risk of processing transactions that were illegal under US sanctions. An independent review found the Iranian business to be effectively controlled by Huawei. The Chinese vendor has pleaded not guilty to the associated US criminal charges.
In September 2021, Meng entered a deferred agreement with US prosecutors that, in addition to allowing her immediate return to China, would see the fraud charges against her dropped on 1st December 2022 if she met the conditions of the deal. As part of the agreement, Meng conceded that she had lied to HSBC over Huawei’s relationship with Skycom Tech. Since Meng did not violate any conditions of the deal, the US government has now moved to dismiss her indictment.
Reuters noted that neither Meng’s lawyer nor Huawei’s spokesperson has responded to requests for comment. Meng, 50, is the daughter of Huawei founder and Chief Executive Ren Zhengfei, and is currently both the rotating chairwoman and deputy chairwoman for the vendor, as well as its CFO.
The US still considers Huawei a threat to its national security. On 25th November, the Biden administration banned approvals of any new telecoms equipment from Huawei and fellow Chinese vendor ZTE on the grounds that they constitute an “unacceptable risk.”