U.S. charges against Huawei executive stem from 2013 - bail hearing

08 December, 2018, 14:56 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Russian FM Lavrov holds a news conference on the sidelines of OSCE summit in Milan

A Canadian government lawyer asked the court to deny her bail, saying she has been accused of "conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions" and if convicted faces more than 30 years in prison.

Speaking at a news conference in Milan, Lavrov said the detention showed how Washington imposes its laws beyond its jurisdiction.

At a closed-door security meeting of United States companies in Singapore on December 6, one topic was high on the agenda: the arrest of a top executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei and the potential backlash on American firms operating in China.

During her bail hearing, a prosecutor for the Canadian government said USA charges against her have to do with Huawei using an unofficial subsidiary to access the Iran market in dealings that would contravene US sanctions.

As details of American allegations against a Chinese executive were revealed Friday in a Vancouver court, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada's ambassador in Beijing had briefed the Chinese foreign ministry on her arrest.

"The allegations contained in this document do not support a prima facie case of fraud against Ms. Meng, let alone against Huawei", he said.

One telecom executive pegged the cost of a Huawei ban at $500-million to $1-billion for Telus alone, while another industry source estimated it would run Bell hundreds of millions. The detention was part of an American investigation into an alleged scheme to use the global banking system to evade USA sanctions against Iran.

Meng's lawyer, David Martin, said her prominence made it unlikely she would breach any court orders. "It will clearly take more than one convivial dinner between the leaders of the two countries to start bridging that gap". Meng also faces possible extradition from Canada.


Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested on an extradition warrant, appears at her B.C. Supreme Court bail hearing along with a translator, in a drawing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada December 7, 2018. British Telecom, one of the U.K.'s largest internet providers, said this week it will not use Huawei's equipment in its 5G mobile network when it is rolled out in the United Kingdom, according to the BBC. USA prosecutors argue that Meng fraudulently said there was no link, the court heard yesterday.

As China pressures Canada to release her, the detention has also created domestic political fissures with opposition parties expressing frustration over a lack of information from the federal government. She is also the daughter of the company's legendary founder, Ren Zhengfei, who built the company after a stint in the People's Liberation Army.

"The Chinese are well aware of John's seniority", she said.

Some have noted that US tech executives would be wise to avoid traveling to China over the next two weeks, out of concern that they might get caught up in the tug of war over Huawei.

In a statement earlier this week, Huawei said the company complies with all laws and regulations in the countries where it operates, including applicable export control, sanction laws and regulations of the United Nations, the United States and the European Union.

Meng is a prominent member of Chinese society as deputy chairwoman of the Huawei board.

But in a sign the case might not derail the Trump-Xi truce, Beijing protested Meng's arrest but said talks with the Trump administration would go ahead.

BCE, Telus and, to a lesser extent, Rogers Communications, all use Huawei equipment in their cellular networks, and as the Shenzhen-based company has made inroads in the Canadian market in recent years, have come to rely on its competitively priced gear to help reduce costs in a field that requires regular capital investment.

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