Chi­nese tech exec in court

Crown lawyers ar­gue Huawei CFO a flight risk

Winnipeg Sun - - NEWS - KEITH FRASER

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.

Since 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 United States 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.

JANE WOLSAK/CP SKETCH

Meng Wanzhou, right, sits be­side a trans­la­tor dur­ing a bail hear­ing at B.C. Supreme Court in Van­cou­ver yesterday.

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