Huawei CFO arrested in Vancouver as USA seeks extradition: Justice Department

06 December, 2018, 05:59 | Author: Dave Hampton
  • Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng arrested in Vancouver, faces extradition to U.S.

The chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has been arrested in Canada at the request of the U.S. over alleged Iran sanctions violations.

According to Meng's official company biography, she joined the company in 1993 and also serves as deputy chairwoman of the board.

According to a statement obtained by the Richmond News from the Department of Justice Canada, Wanzhou Meng was arrested in Vancouver on December 1.

Huawei is one of the largest makers of telecommunications network equipment in the world and is thought to have been shipping products from America to the Middle Eastern country since at least 2016.

Huawei did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.

The Wall Street Journal reported back in April, that the United States authorities have been probing the Chinese telecommunication giant at least since 2016 for allegedly circumventing the Iranian sanctions and supplying US-origin products to the Islamic Republic.

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"The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng", the statement says.

As part of the sanctions, the USA halted the import of Iranian oil, cutting off a key source of revenue for the nation.

U.S. lawmakers have also repeatedly accused the company of being a threat to United States national security, arguing that its technology could be used for spying by the Chinese government.

David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said US and Canadian business executives could face reprisals in China.

The Wall Street Journal reported in April that the Justice Department had launched a criminal probe into Huawei's dealings in Iran, following administrative subpoenas on sanctions-related issues from both the Commerce Department and the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. If Meng has been arrested for violating these restrictions, then this would mark the start of another significant technology export regulation case for the US.

A Huawei spokesman said Wednesday that Ms. Meng was arrested while transferring flights in Canada.

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The United States and Australian governments have long expressed concerns about the security implications of using telecommunications equipment from China.

Last week, New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) rejected a proposal from Spark under which it would have used network access equipment from Huawei to build a 5G network, which it wants to have running in 2020.

News of the arrest came on the same day that BT announced it would be removing Huawei-manufactured equipment from its 3G and 4G mobile networks.

Huawei itself has been increasingly on the rocks with the USA for the past year.

Mulroney said Canada should be prepared for "sustained fury" from the Chinese and said it will be portrayed in China as Canada kowtowing to Trump.

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