Meng Wanzhou, the eldest daughter of Ren Zhengfei, flied back to China last Saturday after dropped extradition case. CGTN host Tian Wei interviewed the author of The American Trap, Frederic Pierucci, who was a former senior manager for Alstom accused of corruption by the U.S. and pleaded guilty in 2014. Many view Pierucci as an economic hostage. The positive outcome, from his perspective, shows that when the State is taking this thing into its own hands, it can help a lot in both kinds of cases.
Tian Wei:What do you make of the latest development with Ms Meng Wanzhou, the eldest daughter of Ren Zhengfei, founder of Huawei?
Frederic Pierucci:I think this is the end of a very longer period for her, which should have been very stressed. So obviously, this is a very positive outcome for everybody. And it shows that when the State is taking this thing into its own hands, you know, it can help a lot in both kinds of cases. So for me, I see this is a very huge win for China, because it's really the first time, but the country stand up to the long-arm jurisdiction of the United States in such a way.
Tian Wei:Fred, she did not plead guilty, but she did use a DPA (Deferred Prosecution Agreement).What does that mean?
Frederic Pierucci:It means that she didn't plead guilty of the counts that she was prosecuted for. So she admitted to a statement of facts. But she did not plead guilty. So this kind of agreement, deferred prosecution agreement, usually it's reserved for corporations, not for individuals. It's very, very unique that an individual can enter into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice. In fact, for instance, in all Foreign Corrupt Practice Act cases, I have never seen such a thing. It shows that the negotiation has been very, very tough, and that the department of justice has really bent a lot to accommodate this kind of agreement. So basically, it means that she has not pled guilty. So she's not recognized as guilty. And it means that if she abides to the term of the deferred prosecution agreement, the United States are going to cancel the indictment against her in one year from now, in December of 2022.
Tian Wei:And that makes a huge difference of course, Fred. But I know that you were struggling so much throughout the process from the day when they tried to catch you with unfounded circumstances to the day that you left the prison. Tell me more about how you struggled and what eventually led you to make the decision that you did.
Frederic Pierucci:I didn't have the chance to have my company’s support like she had, and I didn't have a chance to have my country’s support like she had. So after a few months of incarceration, I realized that I was really alone and that if I wanted to avoid spending the last 15 years in prison in the United States, I had to do the choices that I made. So this is a huge difference. What I have seen in the Huawei case is that the whole company was behind her from beginning to the end. And also diplomatically, China probably did a lot of things to come to this kind of agreement. What you have to remember is that my case occurred in 2013 and 2014. At that time, the world was not so aware of the long-arm jurisdiction of the United States. There have been a few cases before the Alstom case, but those cases were unnoticed by most of the people. Even in France, we had to wait until the Alstom case in order to change the French anti-corruption law to protect French company, and so on.
Tian Wei:I remember Ms Meng after she knew she could go back to China, she talked about the past almost two and half years as absolutely disruptive moment of her life, but she also talked about every cloud has its own silver lining. If I understand what you just said, it seems that you are reaching similar conclusions.
Frederic Pierucci:Yeah, I think she was amazingly courageous also to continue to fight back. And yesterday's result is really amazing. So I think she did the right thing not to give up. Those 2.5 years have been also very, very complicated for her, for her family, for her father, for everybody. At the end of the day, no European country will say this, but everybody deep down should feel grateful to what is happening here, because it's really one of the first time that a country is really standing up to the United States to stop this craziness of long-arm jurisdiction. In fact, this will benefit a lot of other countries providing they have the courage to do the same thing, stand up and fight back. Let's see what happened, but this is probably going to hopefully going to be a turning point. Now, it doesn't mean that everything would be easier now, because I think the United States will not stop choosing their law as an economic weapon, but at least now we see they could get some response to this.