Wednesday 19 June 2019

Huawei executive 'was taken to hospital' after extradition arrest


Trade wars: Huawei has been targeted by US officials. Photo: Aly Song/Reuters
Trade wars: Huawei has been targeted by US officials. Photo: Aly Song/Reuters

Denny Thomas

A top executive of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei awaiting an extradition hearing in Canada is seeking bail because of "severe hypertension and fears for her health".

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is fighting to be released on bail after she was arrested on December 1 in Canada at the request of the United States.

Ms Meng (46) faces US accusations she covered up her company's links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions, a Canadian prosecutor said on Friday, arguing against giving her bail while she awaits extradition to the United States.

In a sworn affidavit, Meng said she was innocent of the allegations and would contest them at trial in the US if she was sent there.

Ms Meng also said she was taken to a hospital for treatment for hypertension after being detained.

China has strongly criticised her detention and demanded her immediate release. The arrest has alarmed global markets amid worries it could torpedo possible thawing of trade tensions between the US and China.

CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested. Photo: Huawei via AP
CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested. Photo: Huawei via AP

In a bail application seeking her release pending an extradition hearing, Ms Meng said she has long-standing ties to Vancouver dating back at least 15 years, as well as significant property holdings in the city.

Her family also sought leave to remain in Vancouver if she was granted bail, according to the court documents, with her husband saying he plans to bring the couple's daughter to Vancouver to attend school during the duration of the trial.

The Huawei CFO said she was not a flight risk and had "long-standing ties" and "significant property holdings" in Vancouver, according to Canadian court documents.

Relations between the US and China had seemed to improve last week at the G-20 summit in Argentina, where President Donald Trump announced he had reached an important agreement with President Xi Jinping.

However, hope that tensions over trade policy would soften were dealt a blow when US authorities asked Canada to arrest the chief financial officer of one of China's largest tech companies for alleged sanctions fraud and violations of US export controls. News of the arrest also shook stock markets globally last week.

The developments come as China summoned the US ambassador to Beijing yesterday to protest the detention of Ms Meng and demanded Washington cancel an order for her arrest.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng "lodged solemn representations and strong protests" with Ambassador Terry Branstad against the detention of Ms Meng.

The Xinhua report quoted Mr Le as calling Ms Meng's detention "extremely egregious" and demanded the US vacate an order for her arrest.

It quoted Mr Le as calling for the US to "immediately correct its wrong actions" and said it would take further steps based on Washington's response. The move followed the summoning of Canadian Ambassador John McCallum on Saturday over Ms Meng's detention and a similar protest warning of "grave consequences" if she is not released.

The Canadian province of British Columbia said in a statement yesterday it cancelled a trade mission to China because of Ms Meng's detention. The announcement came amid fears China could detail Canadians in retaliation.

Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies and has been the target of deepening US security concerns over its ties to the Chinese government.

The US has pressured European countries and other allies to limit use of its technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information.

Irish Independent

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