Huawei executive faces fraud charges in US

Meng was arrested in Canada on December 1 at the request of the United States. — Reuters pic

Canadian government lawyer John Gibb-Carsley asked for bail to be denied, saying Meng has been accused of "conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions" and if convicted faces more than 30 years in prison.

The heads of six US intelligence agencies, including the CIA, FBI, and NSA, have warned against using Huawei products due to security concerns.

The lawyer said that Meng had personally denied to American bankers any direct connections between Huawei and the subsidiary, SkyCom, when in fact "SkyCom is Huawei".

She is specifically accused of lying to a United States bank, identified by her lawyer as "Hong Kong Bank", about the use of a covert subsidiary to sell to Iran in breach of sanctions. SkyCom is believed to be an unofficial subsidiary of Huawei, though the companies do not claim to be connected.

The allegation against Meng came in a packed Vancouver courtroom during a hearing on whether she should be released on bail before an extradition process.

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, 46, who is also the daughter of the company founder, was arrested on December 1 at the request of the United States. "If the USA does what it did to ZTE, there's very little China can do to prevent Huawei from collapsing, and that's not in China's interest".

US President Donald Trump did not know about the arrest in advance, two US officials said. Last month, New Zealand refused a telecom company's request to use 5G technology from Huawei, citing national security concerns. Meng, who owns two homes in Vancouver, was willing to wear an ankle bracelet and put the houses up as collateral, he said.

The arrest of Meng Wanzhou fuelled concerns about already fraught relations between Washington and Beijing and the future of the trade talks.

"This is one of the U.S.'s many tactics and tools used in its trade war with China to maximize its gains". Fleeing would cause Meng to lose "face", Meng's lawyer said. Prosecutors claim that she is a flight risk due to her family's vast wealth, while the defense points out that Meng has resided with her husband and children in Vancouver for years, and had obtained permanent residence status.

Several reporters from the US and Canadian media organizations tweeted details of the accusations after the court lifted a publishing ban that had been in place since Meng's arrest.

"I think it is going to be very important that they say that these are the relevant laws, that they try to remove politics from this as much as possible, whatever the exact specifics of the case are", Balding said.

Huawei is the world's biggest supplier of network gear used by phone and internet companies and long has been seen as a front for spying by the Chinese military or security services. Hours before her arrest, Trump and Xi had agreed over dinner in Buenos Aires to call a 90-day ceasefire in their countries' bitter dispute which has seen Washington slap tariffs on $250bn worth of Chinese goods, and Beijing responding in kind. Meng is also known by the names Sabrina Meng and Cathy Meng.

"The Chinese government should seriously mull over the USA tendency to abuse legal procedures to suppress China´s high-tech enterprises", said the nationalist tabloid Global Times in an editorial.

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