Huawei CFO arrested in Vancouver for possible extradition to the U.S.

Vancouver (StarMetro) – The chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies was arrested in Vancouver Saturday, and is being sought for extradition by the United States, according to the Justice Department.

A bail hearing for Wanzhou Meng, who is also Huawei’s deputy chairwoman of the board, has been set for Friday, Justice Department spokesperson Ian McLeod said in a statement Wednesday.

“As there is a publication ban in effect, we cannot provide any further detail at this time,” McLeod said. “The ban was sought by Ms. Meng.”

The Globe and Mail reported Wednesday that U.S. authorities allege Meng attempted to evade the U.S. trade embargo with Iran, though StarMetro has not independently verified this claim.

In April, the Wall Street Journal reported the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating whether Huawei violated U.S. sanctions against Iran.

In a statement late Wednesday, Huawei said Meng is being sought for extradition to face unspecified charges in the Eastern District of New York, and that she was arrested when she was transferring flights in Canada.

“The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng,” the statement said. “The company believes the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion.”

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.

The company’s website lists Meng as its deputy chairwoman and The Associated Press reports that she is the daughter of company founder Zhengfei Ren.

The Chinese embassy in Ottawa released a statement on its official website Wednesday that said Meng was arrested without violating any American or Canadian law.

“The Chinese side firmly opposes and strongly protests over such kind of actions which seriously harmed the human rights of the victim. The Chinese side has lodged stern representations with the US and Canadian side, and urged them to immediately correct the wrongdoing and restore the personal freedom of Ms. Meng Wanzhou,” according to the statement.

 

The Chinese telecommunications giant is currently in partnership with Canadian universities across the country as well as companies such as Telus, with whom it is developing 5G networks in Canada.

Both the United States and Australia have banned the company from participating in the construction of the 5G network because of security concerns, and Washington has been increasing pressure on Canada, Britain and New Zealand to join suit.

Last month, the Weekend Australian published an article citing secret intelligence reports showing Huawei officials were pressured at some point in the past two years to provide password and network details to infiltrate a foreign system. It is unclear where the pressure came from.

The report prompted experts in Canada to reiterate concerns that working with Huawei is a grave “mistake.”

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