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