Canadian prosecutor argues Huawei CFO is a flight risk, bail hearing continues Monday

Wan Zhou Meng was arrested in YVR airport in Richmond on Saturday and faces extradition to the United States for alleged fraud

Wan Zhou Meng, the chief financial officer of Huawei, is a flight risk and should not be granted bail in part because she has access to a vast network and huge monetary resources that could enable her escape, according to John Gibb-Carsaley, the lawyer representing the Attorney General of Canada at B.C. Supreme Court.

Meng, who appeared before a packed, maximum security courtroom in Vancouver wearing a green prison jumpsuit, is accused of committing fraud after failing to disclose Huawei was the owner of Skycom, which has been accused by the United States of doing business with Iran, breaching U.S. sanctions, Gibb-Carsaley told the court.

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Meng was arrested at YVR airport in Richmond on Saturday on extradition charges to the U.S.  She was en route to Mexico from Hong Kong.

At that time of the arrest, two publication bans for the case were imposed, however they were lifted at the beginning of the court proceedings when Meng’s lawyer, David Martin, agreed to a request from the lawyer representing a number of large media outlets.

Gibb-Carsaley also argued that Meng, who is a Chinese citizen, had no legitimate ties in Canada and had been avoiding the U.S. since 2017 when she learned she was under criminal investigation. Gibb-Carsaley pointed out that China has no extradition treaty with Canada or the United States and therefore it would be in Meng’s interests to flee Canada. Moreover, Meng could face a maximum of 30 years in prison in the United States if found guilty, which could provide an incentive for Meng to flee.

John Gibb-Carsaley then outlined the severity of the charges against Meng, saying there is evidence that showed Huawei controlled and operated Skycom but when asked by U.S. financial institutions about the relationship, Meng allegedly misrepresented the facts.

Meng’s lawyer countered, saying Meng is a trustworthy figure, who would not break bail conditions as it would dishonour her father, the founder of Huawei, her company and her country. Martin said Huawei and Skycom were legitimate business partners and that Meng has been open about their past relationships. Both Huawei and the United States acknowledge that Huawei owned Skycom from 2008 – 2009, when Meng sat on the board of directors, but that after 2009 Skycom cut all ties with Huawei.

Martin said Meng, who owns property in Vancouver, could post her two homes worth $14 million for bail and will comply with 12 conditions, including electronic tagging. He also said her husband is here and her children will come when they're finished school. Meng became emotional when Martin mentioned her daughter. Meng's husband, Xiaozhong Liu, was in the gallery.

Martin also noted it's undemocratic to exclude somebody from bail simply because they're wealthy.

The hearing will continue Monday.

 

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