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B.C court drops extradition case after Meng Wanzhou enters deferred prosecution agreement in U.S.

Huawei executive was arrested in Vancouver in 2018 on a U.S. extradition request

Meng Wanzhou hugs her lawyers.

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou hugs her lawyers in the lobby of their offices in Vancouver on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ben Nelms

RCI

Chinese tech executive Meng Wanzhou will not be extradited to the United States, a B.C. court decided today after Meng reached a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. government.

The deal with U.S. prosecutors resolved the fraud charges against the Huawei executive.

As part of that arrangement, Meng pleaded not guilty in a U.S. court today to multiple fraud charges.

The Huawei chief financial officer entered the plea during a virtual appearance in a New York courtroom. She was charged with bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracies to commit bank and wire fraud more than two and a half years ago.

David Kessler, an attorney with the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, told the court the deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) will last four years — from the time of her arrest on Dec. 1. 2018 to Dec 1, 2022.

A copy of the agreement has not been made public yet.

Kessler said that if Meng complies with her obligations, the U.S. will move to dismiss the charges against her at the end of the deferral period. If she doesn't, she can still be prosecuted.

Kessler also said that, once the DPA is agreed to, the U.S. would promptly tell the Canadian minister of justice it is withdrawing the extradition request.

U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly said she accepts the terms of the agreement.

Later Friday afternoon, B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes officially ended the Canadian proceedings, signing an order to discharge the U.S. extradition request and vacate Meng's bail conditions.

She addressed Meng directly before ending a hearing that lasted less than 15 minutes.

'Meng Wanzhou is free to leave Canada'

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

In a media statement issued this evening, the federal Department of Justice confirmed that Meng Wanzhou is free to leave Canada.

Canada is a rule of law country, says the statement. Meng Wanzhou was afforded a fair process before the courts in accordance with Canadian law. This speaks to the independence of Canada's judicial system.

Meng Wanzhou exiting a building.

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou leaves her lawyers' office in Vancouver on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021.

Photo: (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Today's developments could mark a new phase in the strained relationship between the Canadian and Chinese governments.

The 49-year-old Meng was arrested at Vancouver's international airport on Dec. 1, 2018 on a U.S. extradition request on allegations that she lied to a Hong Kong banker in August 2013 about Huawei's control of a subsidiary accused of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

A few days later, Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were detained in China in what is widely seen as an act of retaliation by Beijing against Canada.

Questions turn to release of Canadians

Both men were charged with espionage. Spavor has been sentenced to 11 years in prison. Kovrig has yet to be sentenced; his trial wrapped in March.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the charges "trumped-up (new window)." China has long claimed that the cases of Spavor and Kovrig are not linked to Meng's case.

Colin Robertson, who served as a Canadian diplomat in China, said he expects talks between Washington and Beijing will now pivot to returning the two men home.

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 told CBC's The Early Edition.

This would be a negotiation involving Canada but it would be principally between the U.S. and China.

Corrections

  • In a previous version of this story, CBC News reported Meng Wanzhou was expected to plead guilty as part of today's proceedings, citing sources. In fact, Meng pleaded not guilty as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. government. Sep 24, 2021 3:00 PM ET

Catharine Tunney (new window)Chris Hall (new window) · CBC News

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