Meng Wanzhou faces decades of imprisonment if extradited to the United States. She is suspected of violating Iran sanctions.
Chief Financial Officer of Chinese technology giant Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, arrested in Canada, faces decades of imprisonment if extradited to the United States. At a hearing in Vancouver, the Canadian prosecutor said Friday that the 46-year-old is accused by the US of hiding her company’s connections to a company that tried to do business with Iran despite US sanctions.
The prosecutor demanded that Meng’s application for bail be denied. Mengs attorney David Martin held against it that there was no danger of flight. After nearly six hours, the court adjourned the hearing on Monday.
Meng had been scheduled last weekend. Details of the allegations against her were few before the court hearing. The Canadian prosecutor said that the case against the manager, who is also the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, is based on a report from the Reuters news agency in 2013. The case concerns close ties between Huawei and Hong Kong-based Skycom Tech, It is said to have tried to sell US equipment to Iran, despite US and European Union bans.
The court was informed that the US authorities accuse Meng of not being honest with banks asking them about the links between the two companies. In an extradition, Meng must count on charges of alleged conspiracy to fraud in many financial institutions. Each indictment carries up to 30 years in prison.
The case weighs on the already tense US-Chinese relations. It stirs up concerns that the trade dispute between the two countries could be rekindled. Meng had been arrested almost at the same time as the G-20 summit in Argentina. There, US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had agreed to a 90-day truce in the trade dispute. Two US officials said Trump did not know Weng’s arrest.
After the arrest of the top manager, the fronts between the US and the People’s Republic hardened. Chinese state media rejected allegations against Meng and rebuked them: “It is undoubtedly true and proven” that the US was trying its best to stem Huawei’s expansion in the world, wrote the English-language China Daily.
Beijing responded to Meng’s arrest with a furious protest and demanded her release. The Chinese Embassy in Canada called on both Canada and the US to “rectify misconduct immediately” and restore Meng’s freedom. It said it would “take all measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese citizen.”
However, according to the US government, the Huawei affair does not weigh on negotiations in the trade dispute. “China talks are going well!” Tweeted US President Donald Trump Friday morning. His top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, told CNBC that the arrest is not an obstacle to talks with China.
Huawei, with its 180,000 employees, is the world’s largest network equipment supplier and the second largest producer of smartphones. The rise and expansion of foreign business in recent years has been rapid. However, the ownership structure is opaque, and Western intelligence agencies have security concerns. They fear interference by the government in Beijing, espionage and disruption of national networks.