CHINESE TECH EXEC IN COURT
Crown lawyers argue Huawei CFO a flight risk
VANCOUVER — Wanzhou Meng, the high-ranking executive at Huawei Technologies who is at the centre of a firestorm of controversy over her arrest in Vancouver, was in B.C. Supreme Court Friday for a bail hearing.
Dressed in a dark green sweatshirt and sweatpants, she shook hands with her lawyer, David Martin, and smiled at him after she was led into court by a sheriff.
The U.S. has requested Meng, 46, be prosecuted for fraud offences. A judge in New York issued an arrest for the chief financial officer of the Chinese tech giant on Aug. 22, court heard.
The Crown, which has argued Meng has no ties to Vancouver and is a flight risk, told the court Meng faces charges she deceived multiple financial institutions in relation to allegations U.S. trade sanctions against Iran were flouted.
Meng was arrested Dec. 1 at the Vancouver airport while she was transferring flights from Hong Kong to Mexico.
Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was taken into custody under a provisional arrest warrant issued under Canada’s Extradition Act.
The federal justice department is keeping mum on the reasons for the extradition request, citing a publication ban imposed in the case.
U.S. authorities are also saying little but U.S. media have reported that Meng, also the deputy chair of the Huawei board, allegedly violated American trade sanctions against Iran.
In the wake of the arrest, the Chinese government has also demanded Meng’s release, calling the arrest a human rights violation.
News of the arrest sent stock markets plunging on Thursday and posed a threat to fragile trade relations between the U.S. and China, according to media reports.
Huawei issued a statement Wednesday denying any wrongdoing by Meng and asserting that the company complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export and sanction laws and regulations.
Meng first appeared in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday, with Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes issuing the interim ban under the Extradition Act. The ban referred to any evidence heard at an extradition hearing.
The bail hearing was scheduled for Wednesday before Justice William Ehrcke but got adjourned following an application by Meng’s lawyer.
Huawei, which sells smartphones and telecommunications equipment around the world, has been viewed as a national security threat by the U.S. government.
Meng Wanzhou, right, sits beside a translator during a bail hearing at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver yesterday.