US drops charges against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou

Meng Wanzhou in blue dress sitting at a table at conference in Milan in May 2018
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

​​Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has arrived in Shenzhen from Canada following a US court's decision to drop all criminal charges against her.

The executive, who is also the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, had been under house arrest in Vancouver for almost three years, following her arrest in December 2018.

In January 2019, Meng, along with Huawei, was charged with bank fraud, obstruction of justice, and theft of technology, after being accused of misleading HSBC about the tech giant’s dealings in Iran.

Nine days after her arrest, China arrested two Canadian citizens, in a move that was widely seen as political retaliation. Following Meng’s release over the weekend, businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig were returned to Canada on Saturday after spending 33 months in Chinese prison. Upon their arrival in Calgary, they were greeted by Canadian president Justin Trudeau.

Meng touched ground in Shenzhen just hours after Spavor and Kovrig returned to Canada. The Huawei heiress was greeted by cheering crowds and messages of support beamed from the city’s skyscrapers, with her return being hailed as a diplomatic victory for China.

Under the terms of her release, Meng “has agreed to the accuracy of a four-page statement of facts that details the knowingly false statements she made to Financial Institution 1”, according to the US Department of Justice. Any other charges are to be dropped as long as she doesn’t commit any further crimes.


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In a brief speech from the tarmac, Meng thanked Chinese president Xi Jinping: "As an ordinary Chinese citizen who had suffered this plight and been stranded abroad for three years, there was never a moment where I did not feel the care and warmth of the Party, the motherland and the people," she said.

"Chairman Xi cares about the safety of every Chinese citizen, and he also keeps my situation on his mind. I am deeply moved."

It’s important to note that Meng had enjoyed numerous privileges due to her high status and close ties to the Chinese government. Although her financial records aren’t publicly available, her father’s fortune is estimated to be worth $1.3 billion (£950 million).

Huawei was not immediately available to comment on the news.

Sabina Weston

Having only graduated from City University in 2019, Sabina has already demonstrated her abilities as a keen writer and effective journalist. Currently a content writer for Drapers, Sabina spent a number of years writing for ITPro, specialising in networking and telecommunications, as well as charting the efforts of technology companies to improve their inclusion and diversity strategies, a topic close to her heart.

Sabina has also held a number of editorial roles at Harper's Bazaar, Cube Collective, and HighClouds.