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08 December 2018, 04:17 | Devin Moran
Huawei CFO wanted by U.S., accused of fraud and bypassing sanctions against Iran
A senior Chinese telecoms executive committed fraud when she lied about links between Huawei and a shell company used to sell telecommunications equipment to Iran in breach of United States sanctions, Canadian prosecutors have told a Vancouver court. Meng's arrest is reportedly related to a US investigation into a plot to use the global banking system to bypass stateside sanctions against Iran, according to Reuters.
The news of Meng's arrest has roiled global stock markets on fears it could escalate a trade war between the U.S. and China after a truce was agreed last week between President Trump and China's leader Xi Jinping. It's alleged that they did not know that they were in effect doing business with Iran and could have faced severe financial consequences, Gibb-Carsley said.
A Canadian government lawyer asked the court to deny her bail, saying she has been accused of "conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions" and if convicted faces more than 30 years in prison.
While personal details are scant, she is married and has a son and a daughter, Huawei said.
According to Canadian counsel John Gibb-Carsley, the Huawei executive misrepresented her firm's relationship with a subsidiary, Skycom, which was allegedly conducting business with Iranian firms in violation of U.S. sanctions.
Huawei said on Wednesday that "the company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng".
"Meng being released on $1 million bail would be like asking upper middle class Canadian family to cough up $136", she paraphrased the Crown as explaining, before noting that Meng's "father has a net worth of $3.2bn".
Gibb-Carsley told the hearing that Reuters reported in 2013 that Huawei was operating Skycom, triggering Huawei executives including Meng to allegedly make a series of misrepresentations. He said her actions exposed the banks to potential fines for violating USA sanctions.
Prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley said Meng, who has vast financial resources as the daughter of Huawei's founder, has incentive to flee Canada because she faces fraud charges in the U.S. that could bring up to 30 years in prison.
In a statement earlier this week, Huawei said the company complies with all laws and regulations in the countries where it operates, including applicable export control, sanction laws and regulations of the United Nations, the United States and the European Union.
The U.S. sees Huawei and smaller Chinese tech suppliers as possible fronts for Chinese spying and as commercial competitors. Fleeing would cause Meng to lose "face", Meng's lawyer said.
Huawei has grown to more than 170,000 employees and does businesses in more than 170 countries since Ren founded the company in 1987. She's likely his heir apparent. "They had been warned, and finally we had to prosecute that", he said.
The law enforcement action has also led to questions as to the involvement of high-level government officials in the Trump and Trudeau administrations.
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