Chi­nese exec ap­pears in court in Van­cou­ver

Bangkok Post - - FRONT PAGE -

>> VAN­COU­VER: A Cana­dian pros­e­cu­tor urged a Van­cou­ver court to deny bail to a Chi­nese ex­ec­u­tive at the heart of a case that is shak­ing up US-China 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 the Van­cou­ver air­port last Satur­day — the same day that Pres­i­dents Don­ald Trump and Xi Jin­ping of China agreed over din­ner 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 Ms Meng and Huawei mis­led Amer­i­can banks about its busi­ness deal­ings in Iran.

The sur­prise ar­rest, al­ready de­nounced by Bei­jing, raises doubts about whether the trade truce will hold and whether the world’s two big­gest economies can re­solve the com­pli­cated is­sues that di­vide them.

“I think it will have a dis­tinc­tively neg­a­tive ef­fect on the US-China talks,’’ said Philip Levy, se­nior fel­low at the Chicago Coun­cil on Global Af­fairs and an eco­nomic ad­viser in Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W Bush’s White House. “There’s the hu­mil­i­at­ing way this hap­pened right be­fore the din­ner, with Xi un­aware. Very hard to save face on this one. And we may see [Chi­nese re­tal­i­a­tion], which will em­bit­ter re­la­tions.’’

Cana­dian pros­e­cu­tor John Gibb-Cars­ley said in a court hear­ing on Fri­day that a war­rant had been is­sued for Ms Meng’s ar­rest in New York on Aug 22. He said Ms Meng, ar­rested en route to Mex­ico from Hong Kong, was aware of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and had been avoid­ing the United States for months.

Huawei, in a brief state­ment emailed to the AP, said that “we have ev­ery con­fi­dence that the Cana­dian and US le­gal sys­tems will reach the right con­clu­sion.’’

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