Huawei Vice President Meng Wanzhou upon arrival for a court hearing in Vancouver.TAE HOON KIM / Reuters
The United States Department of Justice has reached an agreement with Meng Wanzhou, daughter of the founder of Huawei and vice president of the Chinese technology company, who is in the middle of a fight between Washington and Beijing. The US justice will release the Asian executive and allow her to return to her country almost three years after being detained at the Vancouver airport, in Canada, on charges of having violated the economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the Western power. The arrest of the businesswoman had raised tensions between the two powers and had strained the relationship between Canada and China. This Friday's gesture, analysts argue,aims to reduce friction between the powers just as Washington pushes a new military strategy in the Pacific with Australia and the United Kingdom and relaunches the Quad partnership with Australia, India and Japan.
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The 49-year-old Meng's release will come in exchange for public recognition of minor wrongdoing. The board, throughout the process, had considered not guilty of the accusations against him. The daughter of the company's founder, Ren Zhengfei, had escaped prison by posting a bond of C $ 10 million ($ 7.8 million) 11 days after the arrest. He was awaiting his extradition to the United States under house arrest in one of the two mansions he owns in the city of British Columbia. This morning he left his residence to go to court where he would sign the agreement.
In August, 1,000 days after his arrest, the Chinese authorities issued a statement describing the arrest as arbitrary and considering the episode a "political incident" whose purpose was to hinder the development of Huawei, the second largest seller of telecommunications equipment only by behind Samsung. The company controls 20% of the world market and last year it made 109,000 million dollars in profits, an amount that represents three times more than what it earned five years ago. Entry into the US market has been hampered by regulators amid security concerns.
Appearances related to the extradition proceedings began in March 2019 in a Vancouver court. Members of the prosecution and Meng's team of lawyers presented before the judge the arguments to avoid being handed over to the Washington court. The central points were intended to establish whether the accusations made by the Department of Justice represented a violation of the Canadian criminal code. They also intended to test the possible political influences that motivated the case and the violations of Meng's rights at the time of his arrest. The penultimate hearing took place on August 11. The ruling was expected by the end of October, but will not be necessary after the agreement between the parties. The Canadian Minister of Justice has the power to suspend the proceedings at any time.
Meng's arrest unleashed revenge from Beijing.
Considered a political maneuver by the Xi Jinping regime, Beijing chose to suspend imports of some agricultural and meat products from Canada for several months.
Two citizens of the North American country were also arrested, businessman Michael Spavor and retired diplomat Michael Kovrig, who were accused of espionage by Asian courts in December 2018. Last August, Spavor was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Sources cited by
The Wall Street Journal
believe that today's agreement will help the Michael, as they are called in Canada, return home as well.
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