Huawei exec faces United States fraud charges linked to Iran, court hears

Leroy Wright
December 8, 2018

She now faces extradition to the USA on charges of trying to evade US sanctions on Iran.

Huawei's chief financial officer faces charges over an alleged conspiracy to defraud banking institutions.

Prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley said Meng, who has vast financial resources as the daughter of Huawei's founder, has incentive to flee Canada because she faces fraud charges in the United States that could bring up to 30 years in prison.

China has called for Meng to be released and world markets are watching closely due to fears that the case could escalate the trade war between the United States and China.

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

Huawei, which has confirmed Meng was arrested, said on Wednesday that "the company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng". He said her actions exposed the banks to potential fines for violating US sanctions.

Washington and Beijing have exchanged steep tariffs on more than $300 billion in total two-way trade, locking them in a conflict that has begun to eat into profits.

Prosecutors told the court that a judge in NY issued a warrant for Meng's arrest in August.

Meng arrived in the packed Supreme Court of British Columbia on Friday as dozens of photographers jostled outside the building.

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The crown compared Meng's case to that of Su Bin, a Chinese businessman accused of stealing US military secrets who was denied bail in a BC court in 2014, presenting the case as a precedent to also deny bail to Meng.

"Obviously, Washington is resorting to a despicable rogue's approach as it can not stop Huawei's 5G advance in the market", it went on.

Since Saturday, the telecom executive has been detained at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women, a facility 50km outside Vancouver's downtown core.

If she is released on bail, she would likely have to surrender her passport and submit to electronic monitoring until she is discharged or surrendered for trial to the United States. The Vancouver Sun reported on Friday that Meng's husband Xiaozong Liu is believed to own at least one luxury home in the city.

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. A judge on Friday lifted a publication ban Meng had secured that curbed the media's ability to report on the evidence or documents presented in court.

China, meanwhile, has officially demanded Meng's release.

Huawei's affordable smartphones have made strong inroads in the developing world, but the company has faced repeated setbacks in major Western economies over security concerns.

In an interview with Fox News, former prime minister Stephen Harper said Justin Trudeau should ban Huawei from Canada.

"[Huawei] is essentially under the control of the Chinese government", former chief of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Ward Elcock told CBC.

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