Huawei charges laid
CHINA BRISTLES WHILE US PUSHES AHEAD WITH EXTRADITION
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.