Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers reached a deal Friday with the US Justice Department that ended fraud charges against her and the Huawei executive was subsequently freed in a Canadian court after nearly three years of legal turmoil, according to Anadolu Agency.
She entered a not guilty plea in a New York courtroom and in return US authorities dropped the charges. She signed a deferred prosecution agreement that essentially means all charges on wire and bank fraud are dropped as long as she is of good behavior between now and the end of December 2022.
Meng had been under house arrest since Dec. 1, 2018, in Vancouver after Canadian officials acted on an American extradition request to arrest and deport her. That began a long series of appearances in a Canadian court to decide if authorities should act on the request.
It all came to an end when the senior Huawei executive appeared in a Vancouver courtroom Friday afternoon and was freed.
The Canadian Federal Department of Justice issued a statement that said, “Meng Wanzhou is free to leave Canada.”
Wanzhou’s detention in Canada resulted in outrage by China, who demanded her immediate release shortly after she was arrested in 2018.
Little more than a week after her arrest, Beijing detained two Canadians — Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, the so-called Two Michaels — and charged them with spying. The arrests were widely seen as retaliation for the Meng detention.
The pair is still in a Chinese prison and Spavor was found guilty of espionage and sentenced to 11 years, while Korvig has yet to be sentenced.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the pair were held on “trumped-up” charges but the Chinese continued to insist the arrests were not linked to Meng’s detention.
Colin Robertson, a former Canadian diplomat in China, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) on Friday that with Meng released, he expects the Americans will now ask for the Two Michaels to be released by the Chinese.
“You would get the plea by Meng Wanzhou and then at some later date we would see the two Michaels deported back to Canada, but I would not expect it to follow in a matter of days,” he said. “This would be a negotiation involving Canada but it would be principally between the U.S. and China.”
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