Huawei executive appears in court
Chinese telecom officer wanted by U.S. will stay in jail over the weekend
A Chinese executive appears in court in Canada, accused of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran by misleading U.S. banks about the role of her company, the tech giant Huawei.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — A Canadian prosecutor urged a Vancouver court on Friday to deny bail to a Chinese executive at the heart of a case that is straining U.s.china relations and shaking up 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 United States 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 90day ceasefire in a trade dispute that threatens to disrupt global commerce.
The surprise arrest, already denounced by Beijing, raises doubts about whether the trade truce will hold.
Canadian prosecutor John Gibbcarsley said in a court hearing Friday that a warrant for Meng’s arrest was issued in New York on Aug. 22. He said Meng, arrested en route to Mexico from Hong Kong, was aware of the investigation and had been avoiding the United States for months, even though her teenage son goes to school in Boston.
Meng is accused of committing fraud in 2013 by telling U.S. financial institutions that Huawei had no connection to a Hong Kong company called Skycom, which was reportedly selling goods manufactured in the United States to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. Meng has said Huawei sold Skycom in 2009.
“Ms. Meng personally represented to those banks that Skycom and Huawei were separate, when in fact they were not separate,” Gibbcarsley told the court. “Skycom was Huawei.”
In urging the court to reject Meng’s bail request, Gibbcarsley said the Huawei executive had vast resources and a strong incentive to flee: She’s facing fraud charges that could put her in a U.S. prison for 30 years.
Meng’s lawyer, David Martin, argued that it would be unfair to deny her bail just because she “has worked hard and has extraordinary resources.”
Martin told the court that her personal integrity would prevent her violating a court order. Meng was willing to wear an ankle bracelet and put her two homes in Vancouver up as collateral, he said.
There was no bail decision by the judge on Friday, so Meng will spend the weekend in jail, and the hearing will resume Monday.
Huawei is the world’s biggest supplier of network gear used by phone and internet companies and long has been seen as a front for spying by Chinese security services.
MENG WANZHOU appeared in court Friday.