Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou wanted for fraud in U.S., court hears
VANCOUVER – A bail hearing Friday for Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou heard that the Chinese telecom exec is wanted in the U.S. on charges of fraud related to the violation of trade sanctions connected to Iran.
Meng faces the possibility of extradition to the U.S. after she was arrested at the Vancouver International Airport on Saturday while transferring flights.
Dressed in a dark green sweatsuit, Meng entered the courtroom and greeted one of her lawyers, David Martin. She then sat in the defendant’s box alongside a translator.
A judge heard that Meng posed a flight risk, as she had no meaningful connection to the jurisdiction and access to vast resources.
The judge also heard that Meng lives in China, a country that does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S. and Canada.
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Meng is charged with conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions, the court heard.
Allegations outlined during the hearing said the Chinese telecommunication giant used an unofficial subsidiary, Skycom, to conduct business in Iran in contravention of U.S. sanctions.
Crown lawyer John Gibb-Carsley said Meng deceived financial institutions by saying Skycom and Huawei were separate when they were not.
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Crown also said Meng appeared to have avoided travel to the U.S. after learning of a criminal investigation.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Meng’s lawyer David Martin argued that a person’s extraordinary resources cannot be a fact that precludes him or her from bail.
He went on to say Meng would never breach a court order as it would embarrass and humiliate her father, Huawei, and China itself.
“You can trust her,” he said.
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Martin told the court the allegations were “preposterous” and do not substantiate a case of fraud.
He also noted that Meng has ties to Canada, saying she owns property in Vancouver and was once a Canadian permanent resident.
Martin said Meng has medical issues — including high blood pressure, carcinoma, and sleep apnea — that would make it difficult for her to remain in custody.
He said she is a mother of four with “a completely clean record” and is willing to surrender both of her passports.
Defence suggested 12 conditions for Meng’s release, including electronic monitoring and surrendering of passports. Martin said she would reside, under curfew, at one of her two Vancouver homes.
A publication ban on the case was lifted in B.C Supreme Court on Friday morning.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said his government had no involvement in the arrest, but had been given a few days’ advance notice.
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China’s embassy said on Wednesday that it firmly opposed what it called an unjustified arrest.
One legal expert told Global News that if Meng is granted bail, she will likely have to post bail with “a surety of several million dollars,” and would also have to give up her passport.
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Meng was detained the same day U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina and produced a cease-fire in their trade war.
Stock markets across the globe tumbled on Thursday amid fears Meng’s arrest could imperil the trade truce.
The hearing was adjourned until Monday at 10 a.m.
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— With files from Neetu Garcha, The Canadian Press, Associated Press and Reuters
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.