China is demanding Canada release Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who was recently arrested in Vancouver after a request from U.S. authorities.
Meng Wanzhou — the chief financial officer for the Chinese tech giant Huawei — is wanted in the U.S. on allegations of fraud, a bail hearing has been told.
Crown counsel said Friday that Meng, 46, is accused of using an unofficial subsidiary called Skycom to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran from 2009 to 2014.
It’s also alleged she made public misrepresentations about Skycom, saying it was separate from Huawei, when the U.S. contends they were the same company doing business with Iran.
John Gibb-Carsley, a lawyer acting for Canada’s attorney-general, said Meng is “charged with conspiracy to defraud multiple international institutions,” with each charge carrying a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
In this courtroom sketch, Meng Wanzhou, right, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, sits beside a translator during a bail hearing at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver Friday. She was arrested last Saturday after an extradition request from the United States.(Jane Wolsak/Canadian Press)
American officials are seeking her extradition so she can be prosecuted in the U.S.
The allegations were detailed at Meng’s bail hearing in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday morning. She appeared in the packed courtroom without handcuffs, wearing a dark green sweater, smiling and shaking hands with her lawyer before the judge arrived.
Previously, a publication ban prevented the U.S. Department of Justice from releasing further details about the arrest and subsequent hearing. Several media outlets, including CBC News, challenged the ban. It was lifted as the first matter of business at Friday’s hearing.
During the hearing, Gibb-Carsley said the Attorney General of Canada does not want Meng released from custody, citing an incentive to flee and vast financial resources.
The Crown also claimed Meng does not have meaningful ties to Canada, noting she owns two homes in Vancouver but only vacations in the city for a few weeks in the summer.
Meng was arrested in Vancouver on Saturday, en route from Hong Kong to Mexico.
Meng Wanzhou is the deputy chairwoman and CFO for the Chinese tech giant Huawei. She is wanted by the United States for allegedly contravening U.S. trade sanctions against Iran.(fensifuwu.com)
Her lawyer, David Martin, said the court could rely on Meng’s “personal dignity” in trusting she would never breach a court order.
He said private security and surveillance could be an option, if Meng were granted bail.
He said Meng isn’t a flight risk because her husband is in Vancouver.
People walk past an advertisement for Huawei at a subway station in Hong Kong on Dec. 5.(Vincent Yu/Associated Press)
Huawei is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of network gear for phone an internet companies. The telecom company also makes smartphones, standing as the second-leading seller for two quarters straight — behind Samsung and ahead of Apple, according to the International Data Corporation.
Huawei is also is under scrutiny from the U.S. and other governments over suspected ties to the Chinese government and possible links to spying.
Meng is also deputy chair of the board at Huawei. Her father, Ren Zhengfei, is the company’s founder and CEO.
The company says Beijing has no influence over its operations.
News of Meng’s arrest pummelled stock markets, in anticipation that the move would derail planned trade talks between China and the U.S. — the world’s two largest economies.
Chinese officials have expressed concern about the arrest, with the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa calling it a serious violation of human rights. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang also said Canada should have explained why Meng was arrested.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ottawa had a few days’ notice prior to the arrest, but said he hadn’t had any conversations with China’s premier or ambassador about the case.
He declined to give further details, citing Friday’s bail hearing.