Huawei CFO granted bail in Canada as China detains Canadian

A Canadian court has granted bail to Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou after her arrest in Vancouver on behalf of US authorities.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Huawei's global CFO has been granted bail in a Canadian court ahead of her extradition hearing after being arrested on behalf of United States authorities.

Following two and a half days of hearings, Justice William Ehrcke of the Supreme Court of British Columbia granted bail to Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of the founder of Huawei, on Tuesday.

Bail was set at CA$10 million, with Meng required to wear an ankle bracelet, surrender her passports, stay in Vancouver, and stay confined to one of her two Vancouver homes between 11pm and 6am.

Justice Ehrcke said he was satisfied that Meng does not pose a flight risk.

Meng was arrested in Canada on December 1 while transferring flights in Vancouver, with the US accusing her of misleading multinational banks about Huawei's control of a company operating in Iran.

The US has alleged that Huawei used a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment in Iran, in breach of US trade sanctions, and misled banks about its business dealings in Iran.

In fighting for bail, Meng cited severe hypertension and fears for her health. A sworn affidavit by Meng also said she is innocent of the allegations and will contest them during trial in the US should she be extradited there.

Threatening "consequences" for Canada, China has criticised her arrest and demanded her immediate release. It is "totally up to Canada" what those consequences will be if it does not "correctly handle" the situation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said on Monday.

Canada had not informed China "at the first instance" of her arrest and detainment, despite the two countries having a consular agreement, and Meng has been denied proper access to medical attention, according to Lu.

"This has breached her human rights," he said.

China then detained a former Canadian diplomat in Beijing, Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale confirmed.

Michael Kovrig, whose previous roles included serving as a diplomat in Beijing, Hong Kong, and the United Nations, was taken into custody during a visit to Beijing on Monday, according to a spokesperson for International Crisis Group, where Kovrig now works as an advisor in Hong Kong.

Read also: Trudeau denies involvement in Huawei arrest

This followed British Columbia cancelling a trade mission to China amid fears the government would detain Canadians to put pressure on Ottawa over Meng's arrest and detainment.

China has vowed to "spare no effort" to protect against "any bullying that infringes the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens".

The US has 60 days to file a formal request, and if its evidence convinces a judge that the case has merit, Canada's justice minister will decide whether to extradite Meng.

Earlier this week, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng told Ambassador Terry Branstad that the US had made an "unreasonable demand" to Canada of detaining Meng while she was passing through Vancouver, China's foreign ministry said.

"The actions of the US seriously violated the lawful and legitimate rights of the Chinese citizen, and by their nature were extremely nasty," Le told Branstad, comments similar to those he made to Canada's ambassador the night before.

"China will respond further depending on US actions."

Since at least 2016, the United States has been looking into whether Huawei shipped US-origin products to Iran and other countries were in violation of US export and sanctions laws, Reuters reported in April.

Companies are barred from using the US financial system to funnel goods and services to sanctioned entities.

News of the arrest brought stock markets down amid fears of increased tension between the US and China, whose presidents recently announced that they had reached an agreement to halt additional tariffs from being imposed in their ongoing trade war.

In a statement, Huawei said it has no knowledge of any wrongdoing by Meng, while US President Donald Trump has said he would intervene in the case if it serves national security interests or would help close a trade deal with China.

Fellow Chinese tech giant ZTE pleaded guilty in March 2017 to violating US trade sanctions on sales to Iran and paid up to $1.2 billion in penalties to settle the case.

Trump's administration has been cracking down on Chinese involvement in the American tech sphere, including with draft legislation barring the sale of national security-sensitive technology to China and blocking government or contractors from buying telecommunications equipment and services from both Huawei and ZTE.

In February, the heads of the CIA, FBI, NSA, and the director of national intelligence to the Senate Intelligence Committee also recommended that Americans not use products from Huawei and ZTE.

In July, Huawei wrote to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) arguing that the nation should not miss out on its market-leading technology, and pointed out that its exclusion would drive up consumer costs for mobile services.

Huawei's 5G equipment has so far been banned or limited by the US, Australia, and New Zealand, while the UK's BT last week announced it would be stripping Huawei from EE's mobile core.

Meanwhile, Japan is reported to be contemplating banning Huawei from government purchases.

Updated at 12.40pm AEDT: Added information on bail conditions and cost.

With AAP

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