Huawei CFO’s Canadian bail hearing enters a third day as China ramps up diplomatic pressure on the US over her ‘inhumane’ treatment amid concerns for her health
- Meng Wanzhou, 46, was arrested during a stopover in Vancouver on December 1
- She is awaiting a US extradition hearing accused of violating Iranian sanctions
- Meng was recently hospitalized for hypertension and says she is ‘deteriorating’
- China’s foreign minister said her treatment is violating her human rights
- Her bail hearing has been postponed after a judge raised concerns over her choice of surety – her husband – because he is not a legal resident of Canada
Meng Wanzhou, CFO at Huawe was arrested on a US warrant in Vancouver on December 1. China has said her detention is violating her human rights
China has slammed the ‘inhumane’ treatment of a top technology executive detained in Canada amid reports of her ill-health and accused authorities of violating her human rights as the bail hearing resumes today.
A judge adjourned Meng Wanzhou’s hearing on Monday without a decision over concerns about her proposal to use her husband, who is not a Canadian resident, as surety.
Meng, chief financial officer at Huawei – the second-largest smartphone creator in the world – was arrested on a US warrant in Vancouver on December 1, facing possible extradition on fraud charges.
She is alleged to have conspired in helping Huawei avoid US sanctions on Iran and has been awaiting a Canadian court’s bail decision – which after two days of hearings was put off until today.
Meng’s lawyer David Martin has she should be granted bail before her extradition hearing because of severe hypertension and concerns about her health.
In a 55-page sworn affidavit, Meng said she has been treated in hospital for hypertension since her arrest.
‘I continue to feel unwell and I am worried about my health deteriorating while I am incarcerated,’ the affidavit read.
Meng also said she had suffered numerous health problems, including surgery for thyroid cancer in 2011.
Chinese Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang expressed fury over Meng’s treatment, citing China’s state-run Global Times newspaper as reporting that ‘it seems that the Canadian detention facility is not offering her the necessary health care.’
In this courtroom sketch by Jane Wolsak, Meng Wanzhou (left), Huawei’s chief financial officer, speaks with lawyer David Martin
‘We believe this is inhumane and violates her human rights,’ Lu said at a regular press briefing.
Canadian Crown prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley has asked for bail to be denied, saying Meng faces serious criminal accusations of fraud and poses a flight risk.
Meng is specifically accused of lying to bankers about Huawei’s use of a covert subsidiary to sell to Iran, putting multinational banks at risk of breaching US sanctions, and incurring severe penalties.
‘Underneath the core of the fraud, a financial institution in the US is being induced to violate sanctions against Iran,’ Gibb-Carsley said.
If convicted, she faces more than 30 years in prison. The extradition process could take months, even years, if appeals are made in the case.
‘I wish to remain in Vancouver to contest my extradition and I will contest the allegations at trial in the US if I am ultimately surrendered,’ she said.
Liu Xiaozong (left), husband of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer arrives at a Vancouver, British Columbia courthouse following a break in the bail hearing for his wife on Monday, December 10
David Martin told the court: ‘Given her unique profile as the face of a Chinese corporate national champion, if she were to flee or breach her order in any way in these very unique circumstances, it does not overstate to say she would embarrass China itself.’
He had a tracking bracelet on hand in case she was immediately released.
Meng said she has ties to Vancouver going back 15 years. She and her husband Liu Xiaozong own two homes in the city, and she even had a Canadian permanent residency permit that she has since renounced.
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Liu, who was at the hearing, has offered the residences and Can$1 million in cash – for a total value of Can$15 million – as a surety for his wife’s release, the court heard.
However a Canadian judge yesterday voiced doubts that Liu could act as Meng’s ‘surety’ – a guarantor responsible for ensuring she meets bail terms and who would legally be liable to pay fines if she did not.
The issue of the surety was central to the postponing of the hearing – with Justice William Ehrcke of the British Columbia Supreme Court saying he would not make a decision until both sides addressed ‘the necessity and/or strong desirability of a surety being a resident of the province.’
Liu, whose visitor visa expires in February, is a risky surety from the prosecutors point of view because he is not a resident of Canada and therefore may not be present for the extradition proceedings which may last years.
Stocks have fallen as tensions between the US and China soar as China demands the release of telecom giant Huawei’s CFO (and founder’s daughter) after she was arrested for ‘violating U.S. sanctions on Iran’
‘Someone here on a visitor’s visa is not a resident of B.C. It’s as simple as that, isn’t it?’ Justice Ehrcke asked David Martin in court.
Ehrcke said he was unsure how Liu could serve as his wife’s surety if he had no authority order that Liu to remain in Canada.
‘It would be a frustrating and unfortunate exercise if I were to make an order and then you find that there is no suitable surety,’ Ehrcke said.
‘If the conditions can’t be fulfilled, she’s held in custody so I’m thinking ahead to make sure that you don’t find yourself potentially in that situation.’
Meng’s arrest has rocked stock markets and inflamed tensions amid a truce in the US-China trade war.
Analysts say the incident – the same day that presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day tariffs truce – could be used as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations between the United States and China.
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