US wants Huawei CFO to face fraud charges

Sergei Lavrov and Meng Wanzhou

Sergei Lavrov and Meng Wanzhou

A prosecutor for the Canadian government urged the court not to grant bail, saying the charges against Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer (CFO) for Chinese telecom giant Huawei, involve U.S. allegations that Huawei used a sham shell company to access the Iran market in dealings that contravene USA sanctions.

Until Meng's bail hearing Friday, the reasons for her arrest in Canada on December 1 were shrouded in mystery.

Meng faces charges of fraud in the USA for allegedly misrepresenting Huawei's relationship with Hong Kong-based Skycom, according to evidence read in court on Friday.

Under an extradition treaty Canada has signed with the US, it is obligated to comply with requests from the US Department of Justice's Office of International Affairs, granted the accused is wanted in connection with offenses that are a crime in both countries.

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.

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.

He suggested that Meng has also shown a pattern of avoiding the United States over the past year since becoming aware of the investigation into the matter, argued that she has no ties to Canada and has access to vast wealth and political connections - and thus poses a flight risk.

Speaking with NPR, Bolton was pressed several times to clarify that Meng's charges were related to the violation of Iran sanctions, and were separate from trade negotiations and the issue of cybersecurity and intellectual property theft.

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Freeland reiterated what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday: that Meng's arrest was part of an independent legal process that is separate from politics.

"Well, I think the violations of the Iran sanctions are certainly of major concern to the Trump administration..."

Huawei, he explained, is one company the United States has been particularly concerned about.

Hong Kong-based SkyCom's alleged sanctions breaches occurred from 2009 to 2014. An export ban of USA components to the firm was eventually lifted amid a round of bilateral trade negotiations.

Gibb-Carsley told the hearing that Reuters reported in 2013 that Huawei was operating Skycom, triggering Huawei executives including Meng to allegedly make a series of misrepresentations. This week, the UK's largest wireless provider, BT Group, announced that it will remove Huawei components from existing 3G and 4G networks and will not use the firm's equipment for 5G.

David Vigneault did not name China or Huawei in his speech, but he noted that "many of these advanced technologies are dual-use in nature in that they could advance a country's economic, security or military interests".

"The bigger picture here is extremely promising", he tried to reassure, citing the chemistry between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"The Chinese government should seriously mull over the USA tendency to abuse legal procedures to suppress China's high-tech enterprises", said the nationalist tabloid Global Times in an editorial.

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