U.S. Dismisses Fraud Charges Against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou

  • General
  • December 4, 2022
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  • 4 minutes read

Meng Wanzhou

The U.S. government has dismissed fraud allegations against Meng Wanzhou, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Chinese telecoms equipment manufacturer Huawei. Meng was indicted in 2019 for bank fraud and other charges for allegedly conducting business in Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. In 2020, she was further indicted for trade secrets theft.

Meng was arrested in December 2018 by the Canadian police at the request of the U.S. government. Extradition hearings lingered for two and a half years, and Meng avoided being transferred to U.S. custody by entering a deferred prosecution agreement in September 2021 where she admitted to misleading financial institutions regarding Huawei’s business in Iran. She then left Canada for China after spending over 1,000 days under house arrest as part of her bail conditions.

Meng’s case was high profile and viewed as part of a broader scuffle between the U.S. and Chinese governments. It strained relations between both countries. China notably detained two Canadian nationals shortly after Meng’s arrest and freed them on the day Meng boarded a plane to return to China.

  • On Friday, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly dismissed Meng’s charges with prejudice, meaning they can’t be brought again. The dismissal fell under the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement Meng struck last year, wherein the U.S. Justice Department agreed to set aside all charges if she wasn’t charged with an additional crime through the deferral period.

Despite the dismissal, the U.S. government remains at loggerheads with Huawei. Just last week, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved new rules banning the sale of Huawei equipment within its borders, citing national security concerns. Allied nations like Australia, Canada, Sweden, and New Zealand have also banned the sale of Huawei equipment within their borders.

Huawei is the world’s biggest telecom equipment vendor, with a market share of over 25%. The company reported 637 billion Chinese Yuan ($91bn) in sales and a net profit of 114 billion Yuan ($16bn) in 2021.

  • Meng was appointed as a rotating chairwoman of Huawei in April 2022 and continues to retain her CFO role.

 

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