newly-formed trade truce between the US and China, a senior Huawei exec has been arrested in Canada and now faces extradition to the US.n the latest development that is sure to upset the
Meng Wanzhou, also known as Sabrina Meng, is not only Huawei’s chief financial officer and deputy chairwoman, she is also the daughter of Ren Zhengfei, founder of the Chinese telecoms giant. According to the Canadian Justice Department, she was arrested in Vancouver on December 1st, the very same day that Donald Trump and Xi Jinping set down to dinner in Argentina.
While few details of the arrest have yet been released, the Canadian Justice Department has confirmed that Meng was sought for extradition by the US. It appears that the arrest is likely in connection to an ongoing US investigation into Huawei allegedly violating international sanctions against Iran and North Korea.
Meng’s bail hearing has been scheduled for Friday.
The Chinese embassy in Canada responded to news of Meng’s arrest by lodging stern representations against the US and Canadian governments and calling for her immediate release.
“At the request of the US side, the Canadian side arrested a Chinese citizen not violating any American or Canadian law. The Chinese side firmly opposes and strongly protests over such kind of actions which seriously harmed the human rights of the victim,” reads a statement released by the embassy.
Meanwhile, Huawei said that it has received little information about the case and was not aware of any wrongdoing on the part of Meng.
“The company believes the Canadian and US legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion. Huawei complies 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 firm said in a statement.
Huawei recently surpassed Apple to become the world’s second-biggest smartphone-maker behind only Samsung. However, the company has been plagued with problems in the US where lawmakers and intelligence officials have labeled the Chinese firm a threat to national security because of its close connections with Beijing, arguing that the company’s technology could be used to spy on Americans.
This year, both Australia and New Zealand have followed the US’s lead in banning Huawei from providing equipment to the countries’ 5G mobile networks which are currently under development. In addition, UK telecom company BT announced yesterday that it would not work with Huawei in creating its own next-generation wireless network.
However, this latest investigation could lead to a whole new level of trouble for Huawei. Earlier this year, another Chinese telecom giant, ZTE, was brought to its knees after being banned from buying from American companies for violating sanctions against Iran and North Korea.
ZTE was only saved after Trump interceded, lifting the export ban and striking a deal with the company. It remains to be seen if the White House will decide to intervene once again. Meng’s extradition to the US will no doubt provoke even greater outrage in Beijing, threatening a 90-day trade truce that is now only less than a week old.