US wants Huawei CFO to face fraud charges

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - WORLD -

VAN­COU­VER/TORONTO: US prose­cu­tors want a top ex­ec­u­tive of China’s Huawei Tech­nolo­gies Co Ltd to face charges of fraud linked to the skirt­ing of Iran sanc­tions, a Van­cou­ver court heard.

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, 46, who is also the daugh­ter of the com­pany founder, was ar­rested on Dec 1 at the re­quest of the United States.

Meng faces charges of fraud in the United States for al­legedly mis­rep­re­sent­ing Huawei’s re­la­tion­ship with Hong Kong­based Sky­com, ac­cord­ing to ev­i­dence read in court.

From 2009 to 2014, the court heard, Huawei used Sky­com to trans­act busi­ness in Iran de­spite US and Euro­pean Union bans.

If ex­tra­dited, Meng would face charges of con­spir­acy to de­fraud mul­ti­ple fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, the court heard, with a max­i­mum sen­tence of 30 years for each charge.

Meng ar­rived in the packed Supreme Court of Bri­tish Columbia as dozens of pho­tog­ra­phers jos­tled out­side the build­ing.

She con­ferred with her two lawyers through a trans­la­tor.

The news of Meng’s ar­rest has roiled global stock mar­kets on fears it could es­ca­late a trade war be­tween the United States and China after a truce was agreed last week be­tween Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and China’s leader Xi Jin­ping.

Trump did not know about the ar­rest in ad­vance, two US of­fi­cials said.

Chi­nese For­eign min­istry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Fri­day that nei­ther Canada nor the United States had pro­vided China any ev­i­dence that Meng had bro­ken any law in those two coun­tries, and re­it­er­ated Bei­jing’s de­mand that she be re­leased.

Huawei said on Wed­nes­day that “the com­pany has been pro­vided very lit­tle in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the charges and is not aware of any wrong­do­ing by Ms Meng.”

A Huawei spokesman de­clined to com­ment on Thurs­day be­fore Meng’s court ap­pear­ance and said that Wed­nes­day’s state­ment still stands.

Cana­dian For­eign Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land told re­porters on a con­fer­ence call on Fri­day that China had been as­sured by Canada that due process was ‘ab­so­lutely be­ing fol­lowed.’

Huawei staff briefed on an in­ter­nal memo told Reuters on Fri­day the com­pany had ap­pointed Chair­man Liang Hua as act­ing CFO fol­low­ing Meng’s ar­rest.

Chi­nese state me­dia have slammed Meng’s de­ten­tion, ac­cus­ing the United States of try­ing to ‘sti­fle’ Huawei and curb its global ex­pan­sion.

In Jan­uary 2013, Reuters re­ported that Sky­com Tech Co Ltd, which at­tempted to sell em­bar­goed Hewlett-Packard com­puter equip­ment to Iran’s largest mo­bile-phone op­er­a­tor, had much closer ties to Huawei than pre­vi­ously known.

Meng, who also has used the English names Cathy and Sab­rina, served on the board of Sky­com be­tween Fe­bru­ary 2008 and April 2009, ac­cord­ing to Sky­com records and sev­eral other past and present Sky­com di­rec­tors ap­pear to have con­nec­tions to Huawei. — Reuters

A girl lights a can­dle dur­ing the Day of the Lit­tle Can­dles cel­e­bra­tions in Medellin, Colom­bia.The Day of the Lit­tle Can­dles is a tra­di­tional Colom­bian cel­e­bra­tion. Dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tion of the Im­mac­u­late Con­cep­tion of the Vir­gin Mary, peo­ple light can­dles in their homes and on street­lights through­out the coun­try, visit ceme­ter­ies to dec­o­rate the graves of their dead with flow­ers, lanterns and can­dles. This day marks the be­gin­ning of the Christmas sea­son. — AFP photo

Meng (left), who was ar­rested on an ex­tra­di­tion war­rant, ap­pears at her BC Supreme Court bail hear­ing in a draw­ing in Van­cou­ver, Bri­tish Columbia. — Reuters photo

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