The daughter of the founder of the multinational Huawei Company, Meng Wanzhou, reached an agreement with U.S. prosecutors over the fraud charges she was detained on in 2018 and has returned to China.
Wanzhou had been held in Canada at the request of the United States, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) jailed two Canadian citizens, apparently in retaliation. However, they also gained their freedom once the deal became known, according to CBC News on Sept. 24.
“Meng has taken responsibility for her principal role in perpetrating a scheme to defraud a global financial institution,” the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reported.
The prosecution was in federal district court in Brooklyn on charges of “conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, bank fraud and wire fraud.”
Wanzhou’s transactions involved U.S.–banned business with Iran through Huawei–owned Skycom Tech. Co. Ltd., the DOJ contends.
Meanwhile, Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig have returned home. The Canadian state of Ottawa considered the detention of the “two Michaels” as retaliation for Meng’s arrest at Vancouver airport in Dec. 2018.
Notwithstanding the celebrations over the deal, Alan Kohler, assistant director in the FBI’s counterintelligence division, said, “Meng’s admissions are evidence of a consistent pattern of deception to violate U.S. law,” according to Financial Times.
The news is presented differently in China, where Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblogging platform, blocked results featuring Meng’s admission of cheating HSBC. “We need to portray this as a complete success for China,” said a person familiar with the situation.
Meng is the eldest daughter of billionaire Ren Zhengfei, the 1987 founder of Huawei, a technology company that has become one of the world’s largest. But Huawei is accused of using its equipment for CCP espionage, something Beijing denies.
Following its investigations, in 2019, the U.S. sanctioned Huawei and placed it on an export blacklist, excluding it from access to key technologies. The UK, Sweden, Australia, and Japan also banned Huawei’s technology.
Huawei was the main target of a report arguing that the company maintains extensive ties to the Chinese regime. Ren Zhengfei, the company’s founder, was a veteran officer in the People’s Liberation Army. He still runs the company today.
In a study published on July 5, 2019, by the Henry Jackson Society, Huawei employees acknowledged working with cyber agencies backed by the Chinese military.
The report notes that some Huawei employees have worked as agents within China’s Ministry of State Security, on projects with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and in a military unit linked to a cyberattack against U.S. companies.
More than 100 Huawei employees had connections to Chinese intelligence agencies, and their “backgrounds indicated national security expertise,” Christopher Balding said in the study.