Dec 2, 2022 - Economy

Financial fraud charges against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou dismissed

Photo of Meng Wanzhou speaking from a podium on a stage

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou attends Huawei 2021 Annual Report Press Conference on March 28, 2022 in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province of China. Huawei released its 2021 Annual Report on Monday. Photo: Chen Wen/China News Service via Getty Images

A federal judge on Friday dismissed charges of financial fraud against Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer.

Why it matters: The move concludes a yearslong dispute involving the Justice Department's 2019 indictment, which accused Meng of violating Iran trade sanctions.

Driving the news: U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly dismissed Meng's indictment with prejudice, which means it cannot be brought again in court.

  • Meng entered a deferred agreement with federal prosecutors last year in which she acknowledged having made false statements about Huawei's Iran business.
  • The DOJ agreed to dismiss all charges when the deferral period ends as long as Meng is not charged with a crime during that time.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Hope King: The case strained U.S.-China relations, but its conclusion does not seem like it would impact ongoing U.S. crackdowns on Chinese tech giants.

  • The FCC just last week adopted new rules banning U.S. sales and imports of new Huawei and ZTE equipment out of national security concerns.
  • TikTok, owned by Chinese parent company ByteDance, is currently in negotiations with CFIUS to remain operational in the U.S.

The big picture: The DOJ alleged in its charges that Meng, the daughter of Huawei's founder, attempted to skirt sanctions by lying about Huawei's ownership of the Iranian business Skycom.

  • Meng was arrested in Vancouver in 2018. The U.S. formally asked Canada to extradite Meng in 2019, but she remained there under house arrest until Donnelly approved her deferred agreement with the U.S.
  • Meng flew home to Shenzhen on the day it was approved. Shortly after, the Chinese government released two Canadians who had been imprisoned for over 1,000 days, as well as two American siblings who had been barred from leaving China for three years.

Go deeper: Huawei arrest marks escalation in the U.S.–China fight over 5G

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