U.S. seeks ex­tra­di­tion of exec ar­rested at air­port

The Province - - NEWS - KEITH FRASER [email protected]­media.com twit­ter.com/kei­thrfraser

A top ex­ec­u­tive with a ma­jor Chi­nese high-tech com­pany has been ar­rested in Van­cou­ver and is be­ing sought for ex­tra­di­tion by the United States, ap­par­ently for al­legedly vi­o­lat­ing U.S. trade sanc­tions against Iran.

Wanzhou Meng, 46, the chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer of Huawei Tech­nolo­gies, was ar­rested on Dec. 1 at Van­cou­ver In­ter­na­tional Air­port while chang­ing planes and ap­peared in B.C. Supreme Court in Van­cou­ver on Wed­nes­day for a bail hear­ing, which was ad­journed un­til Fri­day.

Meng, who is the daugh­ter of the founder of the huge com­pany, is be­ing held un­der a pro­vi­sional ar­rest war­rant is­sued un­der the Ex­tra­di­tion Act.

The fed­eral Crown prose­cu­tor han­dling the case de­clined to com­ment out­side court on the rea­sons for Meng’s ar­rest, re­fer­ring ques­tions to the fed­eral Jus­tice Depart­ment.

Ian McLeod, a spokesman for the Jus­tice Depart­ment, re­fused to say why Meng, who is also the deputy chair of the board of Huawei, is be­ing sought for ex­tra­di­tion.

“As there is a pub­li­ca­tion ban in ef­fect, we can­not pro­vide any fur­ther de­tail at this time. The ban was be­ing sought by Ms. Meng.”

The Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported that the ar­rest was re­lated to al­leged sanc­tions vi­o­la­tions and said it came after a year-long U.S. gov­ern­ment cam­paign against a com­pany that it views as a na­tional se­cu­rity threat.

The Jour­nal said that in the past year, Wash­ing­ton had taken a se­ries of steps to re­strict Huawei’s busi­ness on Amer­i­can soil, and more re­cently, launched an ex­tra­or­di­nary out­reach cam­paign to per­suade al­lied coun­tries to en­act sim­i­lar mea­sures.

Ear­lier this year, Reuters news agency re­ported that U.S. pros­e­cu­tors in New York were in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether Huawei vi­o­lated Amer­i­can sanc­tions in re­la­tion to Iran.

The Reuters story said that since at least 2016, U.S. au­thor­i­ties have been re­view­ing Huawei’s al­leged ship­ping of U.S.-ori­gin prod­ucts to Iran and other coun­tries in vi­o­la­tion of U.S. ex­port and sanc­tions laws.

A state­ment re­leased from the com­pany on Wed­nes­day said that Meng was be­ing de­tained by Cana­dian au­thor­i­ties to face “un­spec­i­fied charges” in the East­ern Dis­trict of New York.

“The com­pany has been pro­vided very lit­tle in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the charges and is not aware of any wrong­do­ing by Ms. Meng. The com­pany be­lieves the Cana­dian and U.S. le­gal sys­tem will ul­ti­mately reach a just con­clu­sion.”

The Chi­nese Em­bassy in Ot­tawa said Meng’s rights were vi­o­lated and de­manded her im­me­di­ate re­lease.

“At the re­quest of the U.S. side, the Cana­dian side ar­rested a Chi­nese cit­i­zen not vi­o­lat­ing any Amer­i­can or Cana­dian law,” the em­bassy said in a state­ment. “The Chi­nese side firmly op­poses and strongly protests over such kind of ac­tions which se­ri­ously harmed the hu­man rights of the vic­tim.”




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