Huawei Exec To Seek Canada Bail On Health Grounds

A woman leaves the B.C. Supreme Courthouse after observing the bail hearing for Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on December 7, 2018 in Vancouver, Canada.  Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images/AFP

 

A top executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei will seek release from Canadian detention Monday on health grounds, as Beijing escalates its protests over her arrest on a US warrant.

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, faces US fraud charges related to alleged sanctions-breaking dealings with Iran, and has been awaiting a Canadian court’s bail decision.

She was detained in Vancouver on December 1 while changing planes during a trip from Hong Kong to Mexico, for possible extradition.

Her arrest has infuriated Beijing, rocking stock markets and raising tensions amid a truce in the US-China trade war.

Beijing’s latest outcry over the case also led to the suspension of a planned Canadian forestry trade mission to China this week.

In a sworn 55-page 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 said that she has had “numerous health problems” during her life, including surgery for thyroid cancer in 2011.

“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.

Ambassadors summoned 

A Chinese vice foreign minister summoned the US and Canadian ambassadors over the weekend, demanding that the US withdraw its arrest warrant and warning Canada that it faces “grave consequences.”

Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang was critical of 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.”

“We believe this is inhumane and violates her human rights,” Lu Kang said at a regular press briefing.

Lu also said the Canadian government did not immediately notify the Chinese embassy or consulate about Meng’s arrest, as it should have under a consular agreement.

China has itself faced global criticism over its human rights record and treatment of detained activists and minorities.

At a hearing that was adjourned on Friday, Canadian Crown prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley asked for bail to be denied, saying Meng has been accused of “conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions.”

She is specifically accused of lying to bankers about the use of a covert subsidiary to sell to Iran in breach of sanctions.

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.

Meng said she has ties to Vancouver that go back 15 years. She and her husband own two mansions in the city, and she even had a Canadian permanent residency permit that she has since renounced.

Meng has agreed to surrender her passports and submit to electronic monitoring if she is released, pending the outcome of the case.

Canadian media said police were called to one of her luxury homes in Vancouver about a possible break-in early Sunday.

 Trade talks 

A decision on extradition could take months or even years, if appeals are made in the case.

Analysts say Meng’s arrest — 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.

But US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer rejected suggestions that the case could affect the talks. “For us, it’s unrelated” to trade policies, he told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “It’s criminal justice.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also said politics played no part in the decision to arrest Meng.

AFP