Huawei CFO Wanted by U.S. for Fraud, Bail Hearing Told

Huawei global chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on December 1 and faces extradition to the United States. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign affairs has firmly requested Meng's release.

The executive is the daughter of the founder of Huawei.

Crown counsel told a court in Vancouver the seeking Meng's extradition for offenses linked to violations of a company called Skycom.

On Friday, a Canadian court heard the extradition plea, but no decision was reached after almost six hours of arguments and counter-arguments.

It "ignored the law" and was "unreasonable", it said.

"China strongly urges the Canadian side to immediately release the detained person, and earnestly protect their lawful, legitimate rights, otherwise Canada must accept full responsibility for the serious consequences caused", said a statement released by the Chinese foreign ministry on Saturday. Washington alleges that she covered up Huawei's links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions.

The court was told that she had publicly misrepresented Skycom as being a separate company.

At a bail hearing on Friday in Vancouver, her lawyers argued that Meng poses no flight risk.

Why was the arrest significant?

Larry Kudlow, director of the White House's National Economic Council, told CNBC he did not believe Meng's arrest would "spill over" into the talks with China aimed at increasing Beijing's purchases of US farm and energy commodities, lowering Chinese tariffs and making sweeping changes to China's policies on intellectual property and technology transfers. The two countries have been locked in trade disputes, although a 90-day truce had been agreed on Saturday - before news of the arrest came to light on Wednesday.

Huawei has become the world's biggest supplier of equipment used by phone and internet companies.

When asked about the possible Chinese backlash over Meng's arrest, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters that Canada had a very good relationship with Beijing. Huawei has said "the company has been provided with little information regarding the charges and it's not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng".

Meng entered the courtroom in downtown Vancouver at 10:25 a.m. local time, wearing a green sweatsuit and accompanied by her lawyer. Fleeing "would humiliate and embarrass her father, whom she loves", he argued. Over the last few weeks, the other four have joined the excluding Huawei from their telecommunications networks, eliciting expressions of "grave concern" from Beijing.

Canadian officials have said Ottawa was continuing to review Huawei's technology for use in upcoming fifth-generation networks.

"My take is, both Ottawa and London are in a position to say ... we do lots with you in the intelligence sharing and we're not going to jeopardize our networks".

Official details on the reasons for Meng's arrest have been slim, with the Star Vancouver reporting that USA authorities believe that Meng knew that a company called SkyCom, which did business with Iran while the country was under global sanctions, was a subsidiary of Huawei until at least 2014.

What are the Iran sanctions?

The re-imposed sanctions hit oil exports, shipping and banks - all core parts of Iran's economy.

"As the company's vice president and chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou would have been the one who signed off on all documents", Ming said.

  • Joey Payne