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US attempt to extradite Huawei CFO ends in defeat

For almost three years the US has attempted to extradite Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou (pictured) on the back of allegations of fraud but it eventually threw in the towel.

The charges against her always seemed on the flimsy side but, nonetheless, there definitely were questions to answer. Had Meng been apprehended in the US it’s safe to assume she would have been convicted of something. Whether or not that would have changed the eventual outcome – her freedom after extensive political horse-trading – is another matter entirely.

It was Canada’s misfortune that it was compelled by the US to detain her, thus placing it on China’s ever-growing shitlist. On top of the usual forms of political and economic retaliation, China decided to reciprocate by nicking a couple of Canadians and not even charging them with anything for 18 months. Miraculously they were suddenly freed the moment the Meng situation resolved itself to China’s satisfaction.

The US Department of Justice attempted to mitigate its humiliation by getting her to sign a confession that she had been a bit naughty, in which she promised to be good from now on. But the fact remains that it was defeated in its attempts to extradite her and her return to China makes every other detail irrelevant. The ‘deferred prosecution agreement’ seems to be some kind of parole with no legal teeth in an international context.

“In entering into the deferred prosecution agreement, Meng has taken responsibility for her principal role in perpetrating a scheme to defraud a global financial institution,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicole Boeckmann for the Eastern District of New York. “Her admissions in the statement of facts confirm that, while acting as the Chief Financial Officer for Huawei, Meng made multiple material misrepresentations to a senior executive of a financial institution regarding Huawei’s business operations in Iran in an effort to preserve Huawei’s banking relationship with the financial institution.”

“This deferred prosecution agreement will lead to the end of the ongoing extradition proceedings in Canada, which otherwise could have continued for many months, if not years,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark J. Lesko for the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “We are enormously grateful to Canada’s Department of Justice for its dedicated work on this extradition and for its steadfast adherence to the rule of law.”

“Meng’s admissions are evidence of a consistent pattern of deception to violate U.S. law,” said Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. “The FBI will continue to aggressively investigate companies doing business in the United States when there are signs they behave with contempt for our laws.”

If this is what happens when you aggressively investigate, Alan, then you need to raise your game, son. From the start it felt like Meng was just a proxy for geopolitical sabre-rattling between the US and China, so while this outcome signals a defeat for the US it also points to an enduring ability for these two competing superpowers to reason with each other from time to time, which is reassuring.

After spending most of its resulting editorial with the usual ranting about how China will eventually crush all its adversaries, Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times eventually managed to strike a conciliatory tone. “It is imperative for both sides to take the opportunity to cool trade rows rather than escalating, and there is no need to let toxic political rhetoric poison atmosphere for the world’s most important bilateral relationship,” it wrote, apparently sincerely.

The AUKUS pact indicated an increased desire for the US and some of its allies to increase the levels of military deterrence against China. But the hope remains that the interconnectedness of global trade is the ultimate incentive for everyone to try to get along. Like the rest of the world, China has plenty of domestic problems it could do with focusing on, and we can only hope that no political leaders try to bolster their positions with a spot of war anytime soon. So, while the conclusion of the Meng case represents a defeat for the US, maybe it’s a victory for broader diplomacy. Fingers crossed.


5 comments

  1. Avatar vod kanockers 27/09/2021 @ 4:16 pm

    this was one of the most ridiculous paths the U.S. embarked on. what a waste of taxpayer monies…

  2. Avatar Ricky 28/09/2021 @ 1:14 am

    “Meng case represents a defeat for the US”

    Wrong–It is “wrong”. It is a victory for the US in my view.

    In short, not only we got:

    — AUKUS, (US is in a much-better military-strategy position. Australia?)
    — China needed to pay MORE in the UN from 1% (2000)… to 12% (2020), US remain pretty much the same 22%–20%, Japan pay less from 20% to 8.5% ….

    But also,
    —China is also learning the lesson?–the victory of the “rule base” … THE RULE OF LAW…

    –Ricky

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 28/09/2021 @ 9:17 am

      How is any of that a consequence of the Meng case?

  3. Avatar Gary setiadi 29/09/2021 @ 1:27 pm

    The root cause of all this enmity between the US and China is the huge trade deficit and job losses that America suffers. America should just pass legislation to ban all trade and investments with China. That would put an immediate stop to the trade deficit. America should pass laws to ban all their companies from operating in China and bring their manufacturers home. The workers employed by Apple’s direct and supply chain contract manufacturers probably number over a million. Bringing that (and other manufacturers) back to America will solve all the problems of unemployment, drug abuse, suicide, homelessness and violence they currently face. This will end all the tensions between these two countries and make the world a safer place.

  4. Avatar an 08/10/2021 @ 5:54 pm

    This will collapse economy and leave US far behind, US actually have really good deal with deficit, getting product and sending back paper 🙂 new technology and innovation has to define future, moving around factories is not going to solve anything just cause war, further isolation and all the other bad things that have been happening for past history of the humanity

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