Canadian Prosecutors Accuse Huawei CFO Meng of Fraud Related to Iran Sanctions

Russian FM Lavrov holds a news conference on the sidelines of OSCE summit in Milan

Her detention comes less than two months after a Chinese intelligence officer was arrested in Belgium and extradited to the USA to face espionage charges, in the first case of a Chinese intelligence official being taken to the United States to face prosecution in an open court.

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

Meng Wanzhou was arrested on Saturday while in transit at Vancouver's airport.

The US Justice Department will have 60 days to request her extradition, which would have to be approved by the Canadian court.

The arrest, revealed by Canadian authorities late on Wednesday, was part of a U.S. investigation into an alleged scheme to use the global banking system to evade American sanctions against Iran, sources say.

According to the report, "Meng's attorney said she would not breach a court order because doing so would embarrass her personally, and would also humiliate her father, Huawei and China itself".

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.

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.

The Chinese telecoms giant has been under the spotlight since Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer and daughter of its founder, was arrested almost a week ago in Canada at Washington's request.

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.

"China talks are going very well", Trump said on Twitter on Friday, without providing any details.

Comments made on Thursday by John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser, signal that the arrest may have as much to do with longstanding USA grievances with Huawei and other Chinese companies as it does with concerns about possible violations of sanctions.

On Friday, Beijing nevertheless alleged that Meng, known internally as the "princess" of Huawei and possible heir to the throne, had become a pawn in the dispute.

A number of attendees said their companies were considering restricting non-essential China travel and looking to move meetings outside the country, one of the people added.

Richard Harris, chief executive of Port Shelter Investment Management, suggested that while the arrest will likely blow over and not affect the negotiations between the United States and China, "it serves to highlight how toxic the Huawei brand has become in the West".

Meng spent most of the past week at a women´s detention facility in a suburb of Vancouver.

Still, attorney DeBusk said, "I would certainly expect the Chinese to do something in retaliation" for Meng's arrest, perhaps by targeting USA companies doing business in China. All security costs would be borne by her. Fighting extradition proceedings can take years. The Vancouver Sun reported on Friday that Meng's husband Xiaozong Liu is believed to own at least one luxury home in the city.

US officials are seeking her extradition so she can be prosecuted in the USA on fraud charges, the prosecutor said.

"I can assure everyone that we are a country (with) an independent judiciary", Trudeau told a tech conference in Montreal.

Washington also regards Beijing's ambitious long-term development plan, "Made in China 2025", as a scheme to dominate such fields as robotics and electric vehicles by unfairly subsidising Chinese companies and discriminating against foreign competitors.

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