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Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on 1 December at the request of US law enforcement authorities, on suspicion she violated US trade sanctions against Iran, the Globe and Mail reported. She will face extradition to the US, with a bail hearing set for 7 December.
A Canadian law-enforcement source with knowledge of the arrest told the paper that the US is alleging Meng tried to evade the US embargo against Iran, but provided no further details. US prosecutors in New York have been investigating whether Huawei violated the US sanctions.
The US has also many times cited that Huawei poses a significant security risk, as it is too close to the Chinese government. ZTE also came under scrutiny and was fined for allegedly violating US sanctions. The US and China are currently in trade talks, after US President Trump said he would raise tariffs on billions worth of goods from China.
Canada and other countries are coming under intense pressure from the US to stop Huawei from participating in the deployment of 5G. The US and Australia have barred Huawei from providing 5G equipment and New Zealand did the same, citing a “significant network security risk.” Some US senators wrote to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in October, saying that failure to ban Huawei could interfere with intelligence sharing and impair cross-border co-operation in telecommunications.
Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Vancouver while transferring flights, Huawei said. In a statement, the company denied any wrongdoing by Meng and said it had complied with “all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US and EU.”
The US has been looking into the possible violations of Huawei regarding sanctions since at least 2016. US authorities believe the company shipped products of US origin to Iran and other countries in violation of US export and sanctions laws. Reuters reported in 2013 that Meng served on the board of Hong Kong-based Skycom Tech, that later attempted to sell embargoed computer equipment from HP to Iran’s largest mobile operator. Skycom reportedly has ties to Huawei. The company denied that Skycom or it ever provided equipment. HP said it prohibits the sale of its products to Iran.