A Chinese technology executive detained in Canada on charges of US fraud has been released after years of diplomatic pressure over his fate.
Meng Wancho, Huawei’s chief financial officer, was arrested in December 2018 at the request of the United States.
But an agreement with the US judiciary dropped his deportation request on Friday.
The case angered China and worsened relations with the United States and Canada.
It also raised the allegation that China detained Canadian citizens for revenge, which China denied.
Speaking to reporters after being released from house arrest in Canada, Meng said, “My life has turned upside down.” This is a turbulent time for me.
“Every cloud has its positive side,” he added, “I will never forget all the greetings I received from people around the world.”
Details of a possible deal to release Meng are subject to intense negotiations between the US and Chinese ambassadors.
The United States has accused Meng of misleading HSBC about the true nature of Huawei’s relationship with Skycom.
On Friday, the U.S. Justice Department said it had reached an agreement to delay the trial.
That means the judiciary will avoid prosecuting Meng until December 2022. If the conditions imposed by the court are complied with, the case will eventually be dropped.
The agreement that recommended her release allowed her to formally deny the charges against her while acknowledging the allegations made by the Americans.
Later on Friday, Canadian prosecutors told a Vancouver court that they had stopped attempts to deport her to the United States and that she should be released from custody.
For three years, Meng was under house arrest at his multi-million dollar Vancouver home.
Before coming to court, Meng had entered the building with Chinese embassy officials.
The judge then ordered his release.
Someone familiar with the matter told the BBC he could return to China by Saturday.
As part of the deal, Meng admitted a “statement of facts” in which he knowingly admitted to HSBC false statements.
Justice Meng said he had “accepted his primary responsibility for carrying out a plan to defraud an international financial institution.”
Meng is the eldest daughter of billionaire Ren Changfei, who founded Hawaii in 1987. The company has now developed the world’s largest communication devices.
His father served in the Chinese army for nine years until 1983 and was a member of the Chinese Communist Party.
Huawei has been accused of using its devices to spy on Chinese officials, and Beijing has denied the allegations.
In 2019, the United States imposed sanctions on Hawaii and placed it on the export block list, cutting it off from major technology companies.
The United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia and Japan banned Hawaii, while other countries, including France and India, adopted measures that did not comply with the embargo.
A few days after Meng’s arrest, China detained two Canadian citizens, Michael Spear and Michael Gowrick, on suspicion of spying.
Critics have accused China of treating them as politically bargaining chips as part of what is known as “hostage diplomacy.” But China denies this.
Last month, a Chinese court convicted businessman Michael Spover of spying and sentenced him to 11 years in prison.
Canada condemned the verdict, saying his trial did not meet even the minimum standards required by international law.
Analysis by Gordon Correra – Security Editor
For months, there have been intense contacts behind the scenes, with senior Hawaiian executives trying to resolve an issue that has sparked international tensions by the company to Washington.
For the Hawaiian leader, the case was so personal that his daughter was detained, but across China, it became a major cause of outrage. This worsened relations between China and Canada, the latter believing that its two citizens, Michael Gowrick and Michael Spover, were kept as soldiers in the negotiations.
This deal may reduce some tensions. But there are still questions like: What does the United States gain from this? What kind of connection might there be between events in North America and the Gowrick and spawner case in China?
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