A top Huawei executive facing US accusations of Iran sanctions violations was granted bail in Canada, hours after a former Canadian diplomat was said to have been detained in China, intensifying a diplomatic standoff between the North American allies and Beijing.
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, faces extradition to the United States, where she is wanted for allegedly violating Iran sanctions, but Beijing has expressed outrage over her detention and is holding a former Canadian diplomat in China, intensifying the row.
“The risk of non-attendance in court can be reduced to an acceptable level by imposing the bail conditions proposed by her counsel,” a judge in Vancouver said, prompting the courtroom packed with her supporters to erupt in cheers. The list of strict conditions of her release pending the outcome of the extradition case is lengthy, and includes the surrender of her passports and electronic monitoring.
She was expected to be released shortly, and will be allowed to stay at a luxury home owned by her husband Liu Xiaozong in Vancouver. US President Donald Trump said he may intervene in the American case against her to further the trade relationship with China.
“If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made which is a very important thing, what’s good for national security I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary,” he told Reuters.
In a statement, Huawei said it is confident the Canadian and US judiciaries will “reach a just conclusion in the following proceedings.” “As we have stressed all along, Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries and regions where we operate, including export control and sanction laws of the UN, US and EU.” Meng is 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, scheduled to start on February 6, could take months, even years, if appeals are made in the case. The United States must submit details of the accusations for the Canadian court to consider.
Meng also said in a 55-page affidavit that she’d suffered numerous health problems, including surgery for thyroid cancer in 2011, and has been treated in a Vancouver 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.
“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.” During a break in the proceedings, Martin said Meng had confided that she had been “working hard for 25 years” and actually looked forward to a break to spend with family, read novels and maybe apply to a doctorate program while the extradition case played out.
Her husband Liu Xiaozong presented two Vancouver homes and Can$1 million in cash for a total value of Can$15 million as a surety for his wife’s release.