09 December, 2018
Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's chief financial officer faces USA accusations that she covered up her company's links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions, a Canadian prosecutor said yesterday, arguing against giving her bail while she awaits extradition.
At a hearing Friday in Vancouver, a Canadian prosecutor argued that Meng - who has spent most of the past week at a women's detention facility in a suburb of Vancouver - should be denied bail pending possible extradition to the United States because she was a flight risk.
Canada's Department of Justice confirmed last week that the senior Huawei executive had been detained on December 1 and that she was now sought for extradition to the United States, where the New York Times said she has faced "unspecified charges from the Eastern District of New York" since August.
No decision was reached at the extradition hearing after almost six hours of arguments and counter-arguments, and the hearing was adjourned until Monday.
He said she had denied to USA bankers any direct connections between Huawei and SkyCom, when in fact "SkyCom is Huawei". Ms Meng is said to have concealed and misrepresented links between Huawei and Skycom from banks, implicating them in the violation of United States and European sanctions as they cleared transactions for Huawei. Meng also served on Skycom's board between February 2008 and April 2009, according to Skycom records filed with Hong Kong's Companies Registry.
A Canadian court must decide if there is sufficient evidence to support the extradition, but then it is left to Canada's justice minister to sign the order.
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He said there is incentive for Meng to leave Canada, telling the court her father's net worth is $3.2 billion and she has no meaningful connection to Canada, apart from spending two to three weeks on vacation in Vancouver every summer.
Meng Wanzhou, right, attends a bail hearing at British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.
Should a judge agree to extradite Meng, she would have multiple chances to appeal the decision.
The US case against Meng involves Skycom, which had an office in Tehran and which Huawei has described as one of its "major local partners" in Iran.
The U.S. has led a charge to ban the use of Huawei products among its allies, particularly the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network that also includes Canada, Australia, Britain and New Zealand. At the time, Meng served as the management firm's company secretary. It also says that Meng and Huawei misled American banks about its business dealings in Iran.
The probe of Huawei is similar to one that threatened the survival of China's ZTE Corp, which pleaded guilty in 2017 to violating U.S. laws that restrict the sale of American-made technology to Iran.
"Even if this was completely and entirely divorced from anybody in the Trump administration, Beijing is going to receive it as a significant political escalation", he said.
A prosecutor disclosed that Meng was wanted by the United States for allegedly deceiving financial institutions about the relationship between Huawei and another tech company, SkyCom, based in Hong Kong, that is alleged to have sold USA -manufactured technology to Iran, in violation of US trade sanctions. Even though the North American neighbors have a longstanding treaty governing extradition, it can take months, even years, for a defendant to be handed over, if at all.
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