Huawei exec accused of fraud over Iran sanctions


Former Liberal foreign affairs minister John Manley, a member of Telus' board and the former chief executive of the Business Council of Canada, a business lobby group, expressed concern that the US government is driving Canada's foreign policy on Huawei and China.

Chinese telecom giant Huawei's chief financial officer, arrested in Canada, faces United States fraud charges for allegedly lying to banks about the use of a covert subsidiary to sell to Iran in breach of sanctions, a court in the Canadian city of Vancouver has heard.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Friday that neither Canada nor the USA had provided China any evidence that Meng had broken any law in those two countries, and reiterated Beijing's demand that she be released.

The US case against Ms Meng alleges that Huawei used Hong Kong-based Skycom, which had a presence in Tehran, to do business in the country violating sanctions.

USA authorities, however, claim Huawei continued to control the company, with Gibb-Carsley noting that SkyCom employees continued to carry Huawei identification and use its email.

Gibb-Carsley said the warrant for Meng's arrest was issued in NY on August 22.

Xi has not publicly commented on Meng's detention, but the Chinese Foreign Ministry has objected forcefully and demanded her release. The court heard she was en route from Hong Kong to Mexico.

Meng's defense lawyer David Martin said the evidence presented doesn't prove she broke either USA or Canadian law.

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Gibb-Carsley said the Attorney General opposes Meng's release on bail.

Meng's arrest coincided with the signing of the truce agreement by Trump and Xi.

The official acknowledged that the arrest could complicate efforts to reach a broader US-China trade deal but would not necessarily damage the process. They tumbled Thursday. Stocks regained their equilibrium Friday in Europe and Asia after conciliatory words from Beijing but fell again on Wall Street.

"If the USA makes an example of Huawei, the conservative nationalist forces in China and also the military will be very unhappy, and that will make it even more hard to make compromises with the United States", he said.

"It's not necessary to kill Huawei", said Cheng Xiaohe, professor of worldwide relations at Renmin University.

The case has roiled markets already hammered by months of rising trade tension between the world's two largest economies.

Fulbright University Vietnam's Balding said the concerns make sense but added that China has also been getting very savvy at how it responds, finding more discreet ways to get even. "It pulls in: Who is going to be the world leader essentially".

Speaking to reporters in Montreal, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government was told about the arrest a few days beforehand, but it did not play a role.

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He dismissed speculation that Meng's arrest was a deliberate ploy to gain leverage over China in trade talks and said that Trump did not know the arrest was coming.

There are exemptions for telecom equipment in United States sanctions against Iran, he argued.

"China plays rough. We need to be on our guard and need to be aware that we're going into a very hard period with China", said David Mulroney, Canada's former ambassador to China.

However, Courtis added that Canada likely did not have much choice but to apprehend Meng given the nature of its relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Washington and Beijing have exchanged steep tariffs on more than $300 billion in total two-way trade, locking them in a conflict that has begun to eat into profits. While the US routinely asks allies to extradite drug lords, arms dealers and other criminals, detaining a major Chinese executive in this manner is unusual.

It comes as heightened economic tensions between the United States and China seemed to be cooling - at least a little.

The arrest also stroked fears of a potential backlash on American companies operating in China. OSAC promotes "security cooperation between American private sector interests worldwide and the U.S. Department of State", according to its website.

Martin said Meng was previously a permanent resident of Vancouver and her children went to school in the city, so her ties are stronger than claimed by the Crown.

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