Huawei charges laid

CHINA BRIS­TLES WHILE US PUSHES AHEAD WITH EX­TRA­DI­TION

The Sunday Times - - WORLD -

US prose­cu­tors want a top ex­ec­u­tive of China’s Huawei Tech­nolo­gies to face fraud charges linked to the skirt­ing of sanc­tions on Iran, a court in the Cana­dian city of Van­cou­ver has heard.

Huawei chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Meng Wanzhou, 46, who is also the daugh­ter of the com­pany founder, was ar­rested on De­cem­ber 1 at the re­quest of the US.

The ar­rest, re­vealed by Cana­dian au­thor­i­ties on Wed­nes­day, was part of a US in­ves­ti­ga­tion into an al­leged scheme to use the global bank­ing sys­tem to evade US sanc­tions against Iran, sources say.

Ms Meng ar­rived in the packed Supreme Court of Bri­tish Columbia on Fri­day as dozens of pho­tog­ra­phers jos­tled out­side the build­ing. She con­ferred with her two lawyers through a trans­la­tor.

Canada’s Jus­tice Depart­ment has de­clined to pro­vide de­tails of the case but a judge on Fri­day lifted a pub­li­ca­tion ban on the ev­i­dence or doc­u­ments pre­sented in court.

Ms Meng faces charges of fraud in the US for al­legedly mis­rep­re­sent­ing Huawei’s re­la­tion­ship with Hong Kong­based Sky­com, ac­cord­ing to ev­i­dence read in court on Fri­day.

From 2009 to 2014, the court was told, Huawei used Sky­com to trans­act busi­ness in Iran de­spite US and Euro­pean Union bans.

If ex­tra­dited, Ms Meng would face charges of con­spir­acy to de­fraud mul­ti­ple fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, the court was told, with a max­i­mum sen­tence of 30 years for each charge.

The news of Ms Meng’s ar­rest roiled global stock mar­kets on fears the move could es­ca­late a trade war be­tween the US and China af­ter a truce was reached last week be­tween Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and China’s leader Xi Jin­ping.

Chi­nese for­eign min­istry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Fri­day nei­ther Canada nor the US had pro­vided China any ev­i­dence that Ms Meng had bro­ken any law in those two coun­tries, and re­it­er­ated Bei­jing’s de­mand she be re­leased.

Cana­dian For­eign Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land said China had been as­sured by Canada that due process was “ab­so­lutely be­ing fol­lowed”.

Huawei staff said the com­pany had ap­pointed chair­man Liang Hua as act­ing chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer af­ter Ms Meng’s ar­rest.

Mr Trump mean­while sounded an op­ti­mistic note about trade ne­go­ti­a­tions with China.

“China talks are go­ing very well,” he said on Twit­ter.

Ar­rested: Meng Wanzhou and an in­ter­preter in court.

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