Huawei CFO Arrested in Canada with Possible Extradition to U.S.

The arrest of Huawei‘s Global CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada exploded on China’s social media giant Weibo on Dec.6. It broke the peace of a weekday morning, as well as the short-lived peace between China and U.S.

Meng, daughter of Huawei’s founder, is faced with extradition to U.S. on suspicion of having violated U.S. trade sanctions against Iran, after being detained last Saturday, according to Canadian Justice Department spokesman Ian McLeod.

“The company has been provided very little information about the charge, and is not aware of any wrongdoings done by Ms. Meng,” said Chen Lifang, Director and President of Huawei’s Public Affairs and Communications Department.

China’s embassy in Canada stated the same day, “At the request of the U.S., Canadian police arrested a Chinese citizen who has not violated any laws and regulations of Canada nor U.S. We strongly oppose the violation of human rights and protest firmly against it.”

embassy news
China’s embassy in Canada statement

The arrest could drive a wedge between China and the U.S., especially when the two countries only just agreed on a temporary truce in the brewing trade war three days ago.

Huawei has been waist-deep in a quagmire for a long time. As Wall Street Journal reported in April, the U.S. Justice Department was investigating whether Huawei violated U.S. sanctions related to Iran by shipping U.S.-origin products to Iran and other countries.

“Huawei, the second largest telecom equipment manufacturer, may end up being the newest victim to the trade war,” a technology blogger posted.

The company’s 5G network also ran into brick walls one after another earlier this year. New Zealand rejected Huawei’s 5G supply proposal for national security concerns, three months after Australia banned Huawei and ZTE from providing 5G technology in the country.

Meng joined the company in 1993 as a secretary. After earning a Master’s degree in accounting in 1997, she became part of the finance department. Eight years after she started structural and business reform of the department in 2003, she rose among Huawei’s board of directors and became the CFO soon after.

Due to her position in the company and her family ties, she was believed to be the successor of the company.

“Huawei believes the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will reach a just conclusion in the end. Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, U.S. and EU,” Chen said.

Meng sought a publication ban on the case, which prevented the disclosure of further details. A bail hearing will be held Friday, McLeod said.

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