Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou will be allowed to return to China until at least late 2022 under a deferred prosecution agreement with the United States. File Photo by Heinz Ruckemann/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on Friday agreed to a deal with U.S. prosecutors to defer fraud charges against her, allowing her to return to China nearly three years after Canadian authorities arrested her.
Meng appeared virtually in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York to enter into the deferred prosecution agreement.
Canadian authorities arrested Meng in December 2018 at the request of U.S. authorities on suspicion she violated U.S. trade sanctions on Iran. She faces charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, bank fraud and wire fraud.
She pleaded not guilty to the charges Friday during the virtual arraignment.
Under the deal with U.S. prosecutors, Meng said the statement of facts in the deferred prosecution agreement are accurate, including that she was misleading about about the telecom giant's relationship with Iranian subsidiary Skycom. She's not allowed to make statements conflicting with the agreement and she must not commit other federal, state or local crimes.
"In entering into the deferred prosecution agreement, Meng has taken responsibility for her principal role in perpetrating a scheme to defraud a global financial institution," acting U.S. Attorney Boeckmann said. "Her admissions in the statement of facts confirm that, while acting as the Chief Financial Officer for Huawei, Meng made multiple material misrepresentations to a senior executive of a financial institution regarding Huawei's business operations in Iran in an effort to preserve Huawei's banking relationship with the financial institution.
"The truth about Huawei's business in Iran, which Meng concealed, would have been important to the financial institution's decision to continue its banking relationship with Huawei. Meng's admissions confirm the crux of the government's allegations in the prosecution of this financial fraud -- that Meng and her fellow Huawei employees engaged in a concerted effort to deceive global financial institutions, the U.S. government, and the public about Huawei's activities in Iran."
In exchange, the U.S. government agreed to withdraw its request for Canada to extradite Meng to the United States, allowing her to return to China. The charges will be deferred until late 2022, at which point they could be dropped.