Huawei CFO arrested in Canada as US seeks her extradition
Huawei Technologies CFO Wanzhou Meng was arrested in Vancouver in connection with potential violations of US sanctions on Iran
Ottawa: Huawei Technologies Co.’s Chief Financial Officer Wanzhou Meng was arrested in Vancouver in connection with potential violations by the Chinese-based company of U.S. sanctions on Iran, Canada’s Department of Justice said. Meng, who is also the deputy chairwoman of the company and a daughter of the founder, is facing potential extradition to the U.S., Ian McLeod, a Canada Justice Department spokesman, said in an email. A bail hearing has been set for Friday. Her arrest Dec. 1 came after the U.S. Department of Justice in April opened an investigation into whether the smartphone and telecommunications giant sold equipment to Iran despite sanctions on exporting to the region.
The arrest was reported earlier by Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper. The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment about the arrest. A spokeswoman for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau referred questions to the country’s justice department.
Huawei, in a statement, said the arrest was made on behalf of the U.S. so Meng could be extradited to “face unspecified charges” in the Eastern District of New York.
“The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng,” Huawei said. “The company believes the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion. 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.”
U.S. authorities in 2016 began voicing concerns that Huawei and others could install back doors in their equipment that would let them monitor users in the U.S. Huawei has denied those allegations. The Pentagon stopped offering Huawei’s devices on U.S. military bases citing security concerns. Best Buy Co., one of the largest electronics retailers in the U.S., also recently stopped selling Huawei products.
In August, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a bill banning the government’s use of Huawei technology based on the security concerns.
Also in August, Australia banned the use of Huawei’s equipment for new faster 5G, or fifth-generation, wireless networks in the country and New Zealand last week did the same, citing national security concerns. Similar moves are under consideration in the U.K. The U.S., which believes Huawei’s equipment can be used for spying, is contacting key allies including Germany, Italy and Japan, to get them to persuade companies in their countries to avoid using equipment from Huawei, the Wall Street Journal reported last week.
In 2016, the Commerce Department sought information regarding whether Huawei was possibly sending U.S. technology to Syria and North Korea as well as Iran. The U.S. previously banned ZTE Corp., a Huawei competitor, for violating a sanctions settlement over transactions with Iran and North Korea.
In November, Huawei said the moves against it would hinder the development of 5G in the U.S. and raise prices for consumers. Still, the company’s phone business is successful. The Shenzhen-based company has overtaken Apple as the No. 2 global smartphone maker, shipping more than 52.2 million units in the third quarter, according to research analyst Gartner Inc.