Huawei CFO seeks bail, cites health fears behind bars: Court documents

Huawei CFO seeks bail, cites health fears behind bars: Court documents

TORONTO: A top executive of China's Huawei Technologies argued that she should be let out on bail while awaiting an extradition hearing due to severe hypertension and fears for her health while incarcerated in Canada, court documents released on Sunday (Dec 9) showed.

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is fighting to be released on bail after she was arrested on Dec 1 in Canada at the request of the United States. She is also fighting the extradition request, and China has protested her arrest to US and Canadian officials.

READ: Explainer: What is China's Huawei Technologies and why is it controversial?

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Meng, 46, faces US 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 on Friday, arguing against giving her bail while she awaits extradition to the United States.

China has strongly criticized her detention and demanded her immediate release. 

READ: ‘Little to nothing’ so far to substantiate security risks posed by Huawei: Analysts

The arrest has roiled global markets amid worries it could torpedo possible thawing of trade tensions between the US and China.

In a sworn affidavit, Meng, the daughter of Huawei's founder, said she is innocent and will contest the allegations at trial in the United States if she is surrendered there.

Meng said she was taken to a hospital for treatment for hypertension after being detained. She cited hypertension in a bail application seeking her release pending an extradition hearing. She also noted that she owns two homes in Vancouver worth millions of dollars each.

BACK IN THE COURT

Her family assured the court she would remain in Vancouver if she was granted bail, according to the court documents. Her husband said he plans to bring the couple's daughter to Vancouver to attend school during the proceedings. Meng will be back in the court for a bail hearing on Monday.

Huawei, the world's biggest supplier of telecoms network equipment and second biggest smartphone seller, did not offer an immediate comment on the court documents. The company, a market leader across many countries in Europe, Asia and Africa, previously said it has complied with all applicable rules.

Earlier on Sunday, China's foreign ministry summoned the US ambassador to lodge a "strong protest" over the arrest, and said the United States should withdraw its arrest warrant.

READ: Huawei arrest stokes fears of China reprisals among America Inc executives

READ: White House, Trudeau seek to distance themselves from Huawei move

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng told US ambassador Terry Branstad the United States had made an "unreasonable demand" on Canada to detain Meng while she was passing through Vancouver, China's Foreign Ministry said.

"The actions of the US seriously violated the lawful and legitimate rights of the Chinese citizen, and by their nature were extremely nasty," Le told Branstad.

China urged the United States to withdraw the arrest warrant, Le added. "China will respond further depending on US actions," he said, without elaborating.

On Saturday, Le warned the Canadian ambassador there would be severe consequences if it did not immediately release Meng. There was no immediate reaction from Canada. 

On Friday, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters Canada's relationship with China was important, and the country's ambassador in Beijing has assured the Chinese consular access will be provided to Meng.

THE CASE

The US has been looking since at least 2016 into whether Huawei shipped US-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of US export and sanctions laws, Reuters reported in April.

The US case against Meng involves Skycom Tech, which Huawei has described as one of its "major local partners” in Iran. Huawei used Skycom’s Tehran office to provide mobile network equipment to several major telecommunications companies in Iran, people familiar with the company’s operations have told Reuters.

In December 2012, Reuters reported that documents showed Skycom had tried to sell embargoed Hewlett-Packard computer equipment in 2010 to Iran's largest mobile-phone operator. Reuters later reported that Skycom had much closer ties to Huawei and Meng than previously known.

In Canadian court papers made public on Friday, an investigation by US authorities found Huawei operated Skycom as an "unofficial subsidiary" to conduct business in Iran.

Huawei said its Iran operations were "in strict compliance with applicable laws, regulations and sanctions" of the United Nations, United States and European Union, according to Canadian court documents released on Sunday.

US officials allege that Meng and other Huawei representatives misled financial institutions about Huawei's control of Skycom, so the Chinese company could gain access to the international banking system. 

As a result, an unidentified financial institution cleared more than US$100 million worth of transactions related to Skycom through the US between 2010 and 2014, the court papers said.

On Thursday, Reuters identified HSBC Holdings as one of the banks involved in the Meng case and, citing sources, reported that the probe included possible bank fraud.

Companies are barred from using the US financial system to funnel goods and services to sanctioned entities.

US Senator Marco Rubio said on Sunday he would "100 per cent absolutely" introduce a measure in the new Congress that would ban Chinese telecom companies from doing business in the United States.

"We have to understand Chinese companies are not like American companies. OK. We can't even get Apple to crack an iPhone for us in a terrorist investigation," he told CBS "Face the Nation."

"When the Chinese ask a telecom company, we want you to turn over all the data you've gathered in the country you're operating in, they will do it. No court order. Nothing like that. They will just do it. They have to. We need to understand that."

Rubio was a strong critic of China's ZTE Corp, which pleaded guilty in 2017 to violating US laws that restrict the sale of American-made technology to Iran.

Source: Reuters/ad

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