Canadian court grants bail to Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou

Wednesday, 12 Dec, 2018

Meng, who faces possible extradition to the United States, was granted bail by a court in Vancouver on Tuesday, after agreeing to post $10 million and surrender her passports, wear an ankle bracelet and follow strict limits on where she lives and moves in the Canadian city, according to Canadian media reports from the hearing.

Meng is accused of lying to bankers about the use of a covert subsidiary to sell to Iran in breach of sanctions. He said as of early afternoon on Tuesday there was no "explicit" indication that this was linked to the Meng arrest.

Her lawyer initially said that her husband, a Chinese national who spends time in Vancouver, could serve as her guarantor - a suggestion the judge and prosecutors did not appear to like.

His employer said it is looking into his disappearance.

The decision is the start of a long legal process in Canada that could end with Meng being sent to the stand trial.

It could take months or even years for an extradition hearing to take place, the judge said. "We've got serious people working on them and I don't think they'll be affected by this", Lighthizer said. A potentially thornier issue is whether Meng's alleged transgressions were illegal in both the US and Canada.

"Actually, this whole thing isn't just about the passport muddle; it also involves the USA accusation that Meng Wanzhou used Hong Kong shell companies to conduct transactions with Iran", Yeung told RFA on Tuesday.

Huawei and China deny these assertions and counter that USA security claims are an effort to hurt its business. Sanctions violations aren't among the extraditable crimes described in the treaty, though there are provisions for fraud by a corporate officer and receiving proceeds from illegal activity.

The Canadian judge questioned whether her husband would be an appropriate choice and raised questions about whether the electronic monitor could be hacked.

While declining to confirm the detention of Michael Kovrig, ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the International Crisis Group, where Kovrig is a Hong-Kong-based analyst, was not registered in China and its activities in the country were illegal.

"If anyone, whether it is the United States leader or a senior official, is willing to make active efforts to push [trade talks] towards a positive direction, of course we would welcome that", Lu said.

The United States must submit details of the accusations for the Canadian court to consider.

Tensions between Canada and China have been high over the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer and daughter of its founder, on Saturday 1 December.

"We've only heard that he was detained, but we know nothing about the reason", he said. Five friends pledged equity in their homes and other money as a guarantee she will not flee.

"We have been in direct contact with the Chinese diplomats and representatives", Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

Speaking at a Beijing forum on Tuesday, the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said the government kept constant watch on the safety of citizens overseas, though did not directly mention Meng's case.

The evolving dispute has created fresh uncertainties for Canadians who spend time in China.

Ms Meng has denied any wrongdoing and said she will contest the allegations.

The two sides agreed there to delay a planned January 1 USA increase of tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods while they negotiate over China's huge bilateral trade surplus and U.S. complaints that it steals technology.