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Huawei CFO Meng free to return to China after striking deal with U.S. to end extradition

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OTTAWA — Senior Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was released Friday after striking a deal with U.S. prosecutors in courtroom developments that will have major consequences beyond North America.

The Chinese telecom giant’s chief financial officer is free to return to China after a legal battle that started nearly two years ago.

On Friday, she first appeared by virtual link in a Brooklyn courtroom, where the judge approved a deferred prosecution agreement related to fraud charges against her.

Meng's deal with the Department of Justice resolved charges that underpin a U.S. extradition request at the heart of international tensions between the West and Beijing.

Later Friday in Vancouver, British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Heather Holmes approved the request to withdraw the extradition order. Attorney John Gibb-Carsley, who presented the request, called it the "final chapter" of the case.

Outside the Vancouver courthouse, after her discharge, Meng thanked Holmes, the Crown and Canada for "upholding the rule of law."

"Over the past three years, my life has been turned upside down," Meng said as she read from a statement. "It was a disruptive time for me as a mother, a wife and a company executive. But I believe every cloud has a silver lining. It really was an invaluable experience in my life ... As the saying goes, the greater the difficulty the greater the growth."

Earlier, Holmes thanked the legal teams and Meng.

"Ms. Meng, you have been cooperative and courteous throughout the proceedings, and the court appreciates and thanks you for that," Holmes said.

Canada's Justice Department released a statement after the hearing that stated Meng is now free to leave the country.

Canadian police arrested Meng in December 2018 at the Vancouver airport on a U.S. warrant. She’s accused of fraud in the U.S. connected to her alleged violation of American sanctions on Iran.

"Not guilty," Meng told the Brooklyn court through an interpreter after Judge Ann Donnelly read the charges against her, which include conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud.

Under the agreement, prosecutors will defer the charges until Dec. 1, 2022, four years from the day of her arrest. After that date, the government will dismiss the charges as long as she complies with the........

© Politico

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