Drawing a close to a 3-year diplomatic row between the U.S. and China, the CFO of a Chinese tech company, Huawei, returned home.
On behalf of the U.S., Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou during her stopover in Vancouver under reasonable suspicion that she was deceiving banks into possibly breaching Iran sanctions. Nicole Boeckmann, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, states that when discussing with the senior executive of a financial institution, Meng acknowledged that she made “multiple material misrepresentations” about Huawei’s involvement with Iran. The Chinese government defends that this was done to maintain a relationship with this unnamed institution.
Though Wanzhou pleaded not guilty, she took “responsibility for her principal role in perpetrating a scheme to defraud a global financial institution,” and on December 1st, 2018, she was arrested. The U.S. formally announced financial fraud charges against Wanzhou on January 28th, 2019, she remained detained under house arrest in Canada for three years. China fired back at her arrest by detaining two Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Korvig, on the grounds of drug smuggling.
The extradition warrant of senior Huawei executive Wanzhou resulted in a diplomatic row that epitomized the tense Chinese and U.S relationship. A series of aggressive statements came from both countries, stating that the arrest of their citizens was “unjust” and “arbitrary”.
Wanzhou was released from Canada on the 24th of September, 2021 after creating a deal to resolve the case through a deferred prosecution agreement. This deal requires her to admit to her involvement with Iran and how it violated U.S. sanctions, however, it did not require her to plead guilty to the key charges. If Wanzhou does not get found guilty of another crime, the charges against Manhou will be dismissed when the deferral period ends on December 21st, 2022
Following nearly three years of being detained in China, on the 24th of September, 2021, Spavor and Kovrig were formally released. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying stated that according to government transcripts, Spavor and Kovrig were released after they applied for bail on the grounds of “medical reasons” and were approved.
Currently, all three prisoners remain in their own countries and Chinese, U.S. relations have eased as a result. China maintains that the arrests of Michael Spavor and Michael Korvig were unrelated to international affairs.