11 December 2018

Huawei finance chief lands into legal wrangle

Arrested while changing flights in Canada to be extradited to the US, Huawei's cfo will face bail hearing today, charge not yet specified.

Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, and daughter of the founder of the Chinese tech giant, has been arrested in Canada at the request of the United States, as US/China relations go from bad to worse.

Unspecified charges

Huawei said in a statement that Ms. Meng was arrested while changing planes in Canada and that she faced unspecified charges from the Eastern District of New York, adding they are ‘not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng.’ Beijing is expected to press Canada to release Ms Meng and the United States to avoid a trial. Ian McLeod, a spokesman for Canada’s Justice Department, said Ms Meng, joined Huawei in 1993, was ‘sought for extradition by the United States.’ However, no explanation was provided for the arrest and Mr McLeod said that a publication ban requested by Ms Meng prevented him from providing any further details. A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Canada issued a statement that ‘the Chinese side firmly opposes and strongly protests over such kind of actions.’ The statement asked the authorities ‘to immediately correct the wrongdoing and restore the personal freedom of Ms. Meng.’ A bail hearing has been set for Friday.

Acrimonious trade war

The arrest was happening while President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China were dining together in Buenos Aires and agreeing to a 90-day trade truce. The two countries are set engage in negotiations aimed at ending an acrimonious trade war. The United States may look to ease its tariffs, while China could lower trade barriers and further open its markets to American businesses. Earlier this year, the US treasury and commerce department had asked the US justice department to investigate Huawei for possible violations of economic sanctions against Iran, according to reports. Huawei was founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei, a former People’s Liberation Army engineer, and generated over $90 billion in revenue in 2017.