Story updated at 10:05 a.m. ET with comments from Huawei and at 10:25 a.m. ET with comment from Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan
The U.S. has agreed to release Meng Wanzhou, a top executive at telecommunications giant Huawei, who is accused of trying to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran, the U.S. Justice Department said Sunday.
Meng, who was arrested on December 1, has been held for extradition from Canada to the U.S.
“We appreciate the decision by the United States to drop its extradition request for Meng Wanzhou, and we hope that all parties will show restraint in order to maintain broader trade talks and avoid any collateral damage to them,” Huawei said in a statement released to CNN.
The U.S. and China reached a trade deal earlier this month, and other top officials — including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow — said they were “hopeful” a wider deal could be reached by July 23, when the U.S. holds a public hearing into the country’s request for Meng’s extradition.
Meng was arrested in Vancouver last year when she was changing planes and was charged in the U.S. with fraud — accused of falsely representing Huawei’s involvement in Iran as being separate from its global operations to circumvent U.S. sanctions.
In a criminal complaint filed last month, prosecutors accused Meng of misleading U.S. banks about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran. Meng is the daughter of the company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei.
Prosecutors alleged the company told the banks the transactions were legal, despite having sold off a stake in a unit that Huawei established in Iran.
In the charges filed last month, Meng was listed as a victim as well. Prosecutors claim Huawei “denied its executives the ability to circumvent U.S. sanctions against Iran through false statements about Huawei’s relationship with Skycom, the Iranian entity subject to the purported fraud.”
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