U.S. seeks extradition of exec arrested at airport
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.”