Monday, August 8, 2022

Hostage Wars: After 2 Canadians, 2 US citizens released by China in exchange for Princess

Canada released Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou on Friday after she reached a deal with US prosecutors in the case involving bank fraud and wire fraud charges. Meng Wanzhou faced allegations of misleading HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran which is under US sanctions. The 49-year-old senior executive was arrested in 2018 upon landing at Vancouver International Airport by Canadian agencies based on an extradition request by the US. 

Two Canadian citizens who were arrested in China, shortly after Meng’s arrest in Canada, were also freed after the US Department of Justice agreed to drop major charges against Meng. Businessman Michael Sparov and former diplomat Michael Kovrig were arrested under the National Security laws of China. 

Interestingly, two American siblings, who were not being allowed to leave China since 2018, returned to the US over the weekend. Notably, the siblings did not face any criminal charges in China.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki rebutted the claims that the releases were a part of a prisoner swap and said that the ‘deferred prosecution agreement’ with Meng Wanzhou was reached by the Department of Justice. Moreover, she denied any political involvement in the matter. However, she did admit that US President Joe Biden and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping 

The deal has apparently brought a long-standing diplomatic conflict between the North American countries and China to an end. Under the agreement reached between Justice Department and Meng Wanzhou, the charges against Meng will be deferred till late 2022, after which the charges could be dropped.

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