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China summons Canada envoy over detention of Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou

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.

In this courtroom sketch, CFO Meng Wanzhou of Huawei Technologies, in green, sits beside a translator during Friday's bail hearing at the provincial British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver.

China says Meng - the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, a former engineer in China's People's Liberation Army - has violated no laws in Canada or the United States and has demanded her release.

On Friday, a Canadian court heard the extradition plea, but no decision was reached after almost six hours of arguments and counter-arguments.

The US alleges Meng covered up her company's links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions.

Reports from Reuters have previously suggested that over the past decade, Huawei has struck deals to resell embargoed technologies, owned by US companies including Hewlett-Packard, to sanctioned telecom operators in Iran.

Meng was detained on December 1 in Canada for allegedly selling US-made components to Iran and violating sanctions against the West Asian country.

The prosecutor opposed bail, arguing that Meng was a high flight risk with few ties to Vancouver and that her family's wealth would mean than even a multi-million-dollar surety would not weigh heavily should she breach conditions.

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She was arrested while changing planes in Vancouver and is facing extradition to the United States.

"You can rely upon her personal dignity", he said, adding that to breach a court order "would be to humiliate and embarrass her father, who she loves".

Should a judge agree to extradite Meng, she would have multiple chances to appeal the decision.

The allegation against Meng came in a packed Vancouver courtroom during a hearing on whether she should be released on bail before an extradition process. Meanwhile, Huawei claims that it is not aware of any wrongdoing by her. United States prosecutors argue that Meng fraudulently said there was no link, the court heard yesterday.

Official details on the reasons for Meng's arrest have been slim, with the Star Vancouver reporting that U.S. authorities believe that Meng knew that a company called SkyCom, which did business with Iran while the country was under worldwide sanctions, was a subsidiary of Huawei until at least 2014.

"As the company's vice president and chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou would have been the one who signed off on all documents", Ming said.

From 2009 to 2014, the court heard, Huawei used Skycom to transact business in Iran despite US and European Union bans.

The probe of Huawei is similar to one that threatened the survival of China's ZTE Corp, which pleaded guilty in 2017 to violating United States laws that restrict the sale of American-made technology to Iran. Huawei said the company had been given "very little information" about the charges and... 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. The court heard Meng's husband Xiaozong Liu owns two mansions in the city.

China summons Canada envoy over detention of Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou