The Canadian government has released a top executive of Chinese communications giant Huawei held in the country on allegations of US fraud charges, a move that shortly prompted the release of two Canadians detained in China for spying.
Media reports said Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou flew home to China on Friday after Ottawa reached an agreement with US prosecutors to end the bank fraud case against her.
“Over the last three years my life has been turned upside down,” Meng was reported as saying before leaving Canadian soil. “It was a disruptive time for me as a mother, a wife and as a company executive. But I believe every cloud has a silver lining. It really was an invaluable experience in my life. I will never forget all the good wishes I received.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian reposted on social media a report on Meng having left Canada after the deal was reached, saying, “Welcome home.”
Nicole Boeckmann, the acting US attorney in Brooklyn, was quoted by Reuters as saying that in entering into the agreement, “Meng has taken responsibility for her principal role in perpetrating a scheme to defraud a global financial institution.”
Boeckmann said the agreement pertains only to Meng and that the US Justice Department is preparing for trial against Huawei and looking forward to proving its case in court.
Meng, the 49-year-old chief finance officer of Huawei and the daughter of the company’s founder Ren Zhengfei, had been fighting against extradition to the US since she was arrested in Vancouver nearly three years ago.
Meng was charged with misleading HSBC bank on Huawei’s dealings with Iran, while both herself and the Chinese telecom giant dismissed the allegations.
Former US president Donald Trump in 2019 accused Huawei of posing a threat to America’s national security and announced that the US had blacklisted the Chinese company, banning it from accessing US technology.
Following Meng’s release from detention, China freed two Canadians — businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig — held in the country on spying charges.
The two Canadians had been kept in prison in China for more than 1,000 days.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed in brief remarks late on Friday that the two men had left Chinese airspace.