Canada arrests CFO of China's Huawei Technologies

Ivan Schwartz
December 7, 2018

A profile of Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is displayed on a Huawei computer at a Huawei store in Beijing, China, Dec. 6, 2018.

Experts have warned that Meng's arrest could negatively impact trade negotiations between the us and China, just as President Donald Trump has been hailing the success of a weekend meeting with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Officials for the Canadian and U.S. Justice Departments did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that USA authorities are investigating whether Chinese tech giant Huawei violated sanctions on Iran.

Meanwhile, the Canadian president Justin Trudeau declined to give more details on the swoop, in light of Meng's bail hearing on Friday, other than to say there was no political involvement.

"We have made solemn representations to Canada and the U.S., demanding that both parties immediately clarify the reasons for the detention, and immediately release the detainee to protect the person's legal rights", ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular press briefing.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Ottawa had a few days' prior notice of the arrest of an executive from the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei following USA allegations the company violated sanctions on Iran.

In a statement released Thursday, the Chinese Embassy in Canada protested the move as an act that "seriously harmed the human rights of the victim", referring to Meng. Authorities have suspected the company has been involved in defying sanctions on Iran since 2016, when the US investigated Huawei's Chinese rival ZTE over similar violations.

Ms Meng's arrest is part of an ongoing investigation by USA prosecutors into whether Huawei violated banking laws as it sought to evade sanctions against Iran by routing a series of transactions through HSBC Holdings, according to a person briefed on the matter. Huawei is the world's biggest maker of equipment for cellular towers and Internet networks, and the company is the world's second most popular smartphone brand.

Long viewed by United States intelligence agencies as a national security threat, Huawei is one of China's most prominent tech companies.

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton told NPR that he knew of the pending arrest in advance.

The arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou earlier this week is sending shockwaves through both the USA and China.

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Huawei Technologies, launched in 1987 in Shenzhen China, has been the largest telecommunication equipment producer in the world since 2012.

The Chief Financial Officer of Huawei Technologies has been arrested in Canada. USA intelligence agencies allege that Huawei is linked to China's government and that its equipment could contain "backdoors" for use by government spies.

The arrest follows a U.S.

David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said US and Canadian business executives could face reprisals in China.

Trump and Xi have been battling over tariffs, something that has set the US financial markets into a tailspin this week, causing the Dow to drop almost 800 points on Tuesday.

One of those people is Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE), who said the United States "can't sit on the sidelines" while China undermines national security with its actions. The Chinese government appealed to Washington to avoid any steps that might damage business confidence.

This time, the focus of the friction is on Meng Wanzhou, scion of a Chinese telecommunications giant. These include director of the worldwide accounting department, chief financial officer of Huawei Hong Kong and president of the accounting management department, the website said.

Financial markets are enduring further turmoil after the arrest of a Chinese Huawei executive on behalf of the United States exacerbated fears over the countries' trade war.

Meng, who also has gone by the English names Cathy and Sabrina, served on the board of Skycom between February 2008 and April 2009, according to Skycom records filed with Hong Kong's Companies Registry.

In exchange, ZTE agreed to pay a hefty $1 billion fine and put an additional $400 million in escrow in case of future violations.

In the view of the United States and many outside analysts, China has embarked on an aggressive drive to overtake America's dominance in technology and global economic leadership.

Other reports by GizPress

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