Huawei exec stays be­hind bars

Sunday Star-Times - - World -

A Cana­dian pros­e­cu­tor has urged a court to deny bail to a Chi­nese ex­ec­u­tive at the heart of a case that is shak­ing up United StatesChina re­la­tions and wor­ry­ing global fi­nan­cial mar­kets.

Meng Wanzhou, the chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions gi­ant Huawei and daugh­ter of its founder, was de­tained at the re­quest of the US dur­ing a lay­over at Van­cou­ver’s air­port last Sun­day – the same day that US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping agreed to a 90-day cease­fire in a trade dis­pute that threat­ens to dis­rupt global com­merce.

The US al­leges that Huawei used a Hong Kong shell com­pany to sell equip­ment in Iran in vi­o­la­tion of US sanc­tions. It also says that Meng and Huawei mis­led Amer­i­can banks about the com­pany’s busi­ness deal­ings in Iran.

Cana­dian pros­e­cu­tor John Gibb-Cars­ley told a court hear­ing in Van­cou­ver yes­ter­day that a war­rant had been is­sued for Meng’s ar­rest in New York on Au­gust 22. He said Meng, who was ar­rested while en route to Mex­ico from Hong Kong, was aware of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and had been avoid­ing the US for months, even though her teenage son goes to school in Boston.

Gibb-Cars­ley al­leged that Huawei had done busi­ness in Iran through a Hong Kong com­pany called Sky­com. He said Meng had mis­led US banks into think­ing that Huawei and Sky­com were sep­a­rate. Meng has con­tended that Huawei sold Sky­com in 2009.

Urg­ing the court to re­ject Meng’s bail re­quest, Gibb-Cars­ley said she had vast re­sources and a strong in­cen­tive to flee – she is fac­ing fraud charges in the US that could put her in prison for 30 years.

Meng’s lawyer, David Martin, ar­gued that it would be un­fair to deny her bail.

Martin told the court that Meng’s per­sonal in­tegrity and re­spect for her fa­ther, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, would pre­vent her vi­o­lat­ing a court or­der. Meng, who owns two homes in Van­cou­ver, was will­ing to wear an an­kle bracelet and put the houses up as col­lat­eral, he said.

There was no bail de­ci­sion by the judge yes­ter­day, so Meng will spend the week­end in jail and the hear­ing will re­sume on Tues­day.

Huawei is the world’s big­gest sup­plier of net­work gear used by phone and internet com­pa­nies, and has long been seen as a front for spy­ing by the Chi­nese mil­i­tary or se­cu­rity ser­vices.

AP

In this court­room sketch, Huawei chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Meng Wanzhou, right, sits be­side a trans­la­tor dur­ing her bail hear­ing.

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