Canadian judge grants bail for Chinese Huawei CFO facing possible extradition to the US

A Canadian judge has granted bail to Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested on a US warrant in Vancouver on December 1 

A Canadian judge has granted bail to Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested on a US warrant in Vancouver on December 1 

A Canadian judge has granted bail to Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested on a US warrant in Vancouver on December 1 

A Canadian judge has granted bail to a top Chinese executive facing possible extradition to the US, it was announced Tuesday evening.  

After three days of hearings, Meng Wanzhou was released on bail of $10million Canadian (US $7.4million) – on the condition she surrender her two passports and agree to wear an ankle bracelet.

She will have to stay in Vancouver and its suburbs and confine herself to one of her two Vancouver homes from 11pm to 6am. 

The chief financial officer of telecommunications giant Huawei – and daughter of its founder – had asked for bail in exchange for putting up her husband, children and $11million in real estate as sureties. 

Wanzhou was detained at the request of the US during a layover at the Vancouver airport on December 1 – the same day that Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping of China agreed to a 90-day cease-fire in a trade dispute that threatens to disrupt global commerce. 

Justice William Ehrcke granted her bail Tuesday evening, according to the Associated Press. 

The lawyer for Meng says his team worked through the night to make changes to its bail plan to help satisfy concerns that have been raised about her release.

David Martin says they contacted four potential sources to offer sureties for Huawei’s CFO and prepared affidavits after the judge and a federal prosecutor questioned whether Meng’s husband would be a suitable person to ensure she complies with any bail conditions.

Martin says one person who is proposed to offer a financial guarantee is a realtor who met Meng in 2009 and sold two properties to the couple.

The man has pledged his home, valued at $1.8million Canadian (US$1.3 million), and says he understands he would lose it if Meng violated the conditions of her release.

Justice William Ehrcke of the British Columbia Supreme Court (seen top left) will announce on Tuesday whether to grant bail to Meng (seen on the right wearing a green shirt)

Justice William Ehrcke of the British Columbia Supreme Court (seen top left) will announce on Tuesday whether to grant bail to Meng (seen on the right wearing a green shirt)

Justice William Ehrcke of the British Columbia Supreme Court (seen top left) will announce on Tuesday whether to grant bail to Meng (seen on the right wearing a green shirt)

Martin also read from the affidavit of another man who says he worked at Huawei in China in the mid-1990s and got to know Meng on a personal level.

He is vouching for Meng’s character to comply with any conditions imposed by the B.C. Supreme Court and has pledged $500,000 Canadian (US$373,000) from the equity on his home in Vancouver, which is valued at $1.4 million Canadian ($1 million).

Ehrcke questioned whether Liu Xiaozong could provide a surety because he is on a six-month visitor’s visa to Canada and the form to provide the financial guarantee says it must be provided by a resident of British Columbia.

A surety is a guarantor responsible for ensuring she meets bail terms and who would legally be liable to pay fines if she did not. 

Meng said she has ties to Vancouver going back 15 years. She and her husband Liu own two homes in the city, and she even had a Canadian permanent residency permit that she has since renounced.

Liu, said to be Meng’s second husband, used to be Huawei’s representative in Mexico, according to a recent column on Shanghai’s Jiefang Daily newspaper.

Liu current works as the chairman of Depu Education, a private international school in China’s Chongqing city, the article claimed. 

It is rumored that the school, aimed to recruit children from rich Chinese families, was co-founded by Meng and Liu with an investment of 1 billion yuan (£116 million). 

Liu, who was at the hearing, has offered the residences and $1 million in cash – for a total value of $15 million ($11million U.S.) – as a surety for his wife’s release, the court heard.

However a Canadian judge yesterday voiced doubts that Liu could act as Meng’s ‘surety’ – a guarantor responsible for ensuring she meets bail terms and who would legally be liable to pay fines if she did not. 

The issue of the surety was central to the postponing of the hearing on Monday – with Ehrcke saying he would not make a decision until both sides addressed ‘the necessity and/or strong desirability of a surety being a resident of the province.’  

Liu, whose visitor visa expires in February, is a risky surety from the prosecutors point of view because he is not a resident of Canada and therefore may not be present for the extradition proceedings which may last years. 

Meng Wanzhou (left), Huawei's chief financial officer, speaks with lawyer David Martin in court as she seeks bail.

Meng Wanzhou (left), Huawei's chief financial officer, speaks with lawyer David Martin in court as she seeks bail.

Meng Wanzhou (left), Huawei’s chief financial officer, speaks with lawyer David Martin in court as she seeks bail.

The U.S. wants Meng to face allegations of fraud as it says Huawei used unofficial subsidiary Skycom to do business with Iranian telecommunications companies between 2009 and 2014 in violation of sanctions. 

Meng has denied the allegations through her lawyer in court, promising to fight them if she is extradited for face charges in the United States.

The case has fueled U.S.-China trade tensions and roiled financial markets.  

The U.S. has accused Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. 

It also says Meng and Huawei misled banks about the company’s business dealings in Iran.

In response to the bail hearings, China slammed the ‘inhumane’ treatment of Meng, amid reports of her ill-health. The country’s foreign minister on Tuesday also vowed to protect its citizens abroad.

Beijing will ‘spare no effort’ to protect against ‘any bullying that infringes the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens,’ Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a conference in Shanghai.

Wang didn’t mention the 46-year-old Huawei executive, but a ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said Wang was referring to cases of all Chinese abroad, including Meng.

Her lawyer has called her treatment 'inhumane', claiming she should be freed soon because she suffers hypertension

Her lawyer has called her treatment 'inhumane', claiming she should be freed soon because she suffers hypertension

Her lawyer has called her treatment ‘inhumane’, claiming she should be freed soon because she suffers hypertension

Huawei is the second-largest smartphone creator in the world.

She is alleged to have conspired in helping Huawei avoid US sanctions on Iran.

Former Canadian diplomat working for an NGO is ‘detained in China’ amid rising tensions between Beijing, Washington and Ottawa over arrested Huawei executive 

 A former Canadian diplomat has been detained in China, two sources said on Tuesday, and his current employer, the International Crisis Group, said it was seeking his prompt and safe release.

Michael Kovrig’s detention comes after police in Canada arrested the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd on Dec. 1 at the request of U.S. authorities, a move that infuriated Beijing.

It was not immediately clear if the cases were related, but the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver has stoked fears of reprisals against the foreign business community in China.

‘International Crisis Group is aware of reports that its North East Asia Senior Adviser, Michael Kovrig, has been detained in China,’ the think-tank said in a statement.

‘We are doing everything possible to secure additional information on Michael’s whereabouts as well as his prompt and safe release,’ it added.

China’s Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Public Security did not respond immediately to questions faxed earlier about Kovrig’s detention.

The exact reason for the detention was not immediately clear.

The Canadian embassy declined to comment, referring queries to Ottawa.

Calls to Kovrig’s phones were not answered.

Kovrig, a Mandarin speaker, has been working as a full-time expert for the International Crisis Group since February 2017.

From 2003 to 2016, he worked as a diplomat with stints in Beijing and Hong Kong, among others, according to his profile on LinkedIn. 

Martin has said she should be granted bail before her extradition hearing because of severe hypertension and concerns about her health.  

In a 55-page sworn affidavit, Meng said she has been treated in hospital for hypertension since her arrest.

‘I continue to feel unwell and I am worried about my health deteriorating while I am incarcerated,’ the affidavit read.

Meng also said she had suffered numerous health problems, including surgery for thyroid cancer in 2011.  

Chinese Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang expressed fury over Meng’s treatment, citing China’s state-run Global Times newspaper as reporting that ‘it seems that the Canadian detention facility is not offering her the necessary health care.’

‘We believe this is inhumane and violates her human rights,’ Lu said at a regular press briefing.

Canadian Crown prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley has asked for bail to be denied, saying Meng faces serious criminal accusations of fraud and poses a flight risk.

Meng is specifically accused of lying to bankers about Huawei’s use of a covert subsidiary to sell to Iran, putting multinational banks at risk of breaching US sanctions, and incurring severe penalties. 

‘Underneath the core of the fraud, a financial institution in the U.S. is being induced to violate sanctions against Iran,’ Gibb-Carsley said.

If convicted, she faces more than 30 years in prison. The extradition process could take months, even years, if appeals are made in the case. 

‘I wish to remain in Vancouver to contest my extradition and I will contest the allegations at trial in the U.S. if I am ultimately surrendered,’ she said.

Martin told the court: ‘Given her unique profile as the face of a Chinese corporate national champion, if she were to flee or breach her order in any way in these very unique circumstances, it does not overstate to say she would embarrass China itself.’ 

He had a tracking bracelet on hand in case she was immediately released. 

A Canadian judge yesterday voiced doubts that Liu could act as Meng's 'surety'

A Canadian judge yesterday voiced doubts that Liu could act as Meng's 'surety'

Meng argues she is not a flight risk as she and her husband Liu Xiaozong own two homes  in Vancouver and she even had a Canadian permanent residency permit that she has since renounced

Meng argues she is not a flight risk as she and her husband Liu Xiaozong own two homes  in Vancouver and she even had a Canadian permanent residency permit that she has since renounced

Liu Xiaozong (left), husband of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer arrives at a Vancouver, British Columbia courthouse following a break in the bail hearing for his wife on Monday, December 10

Stocks have fallen as tensions between the US and China soar as China demands the release of telecom giant Huawei's CFO (and founder's daughter) after she was arrested for 'violating U.S. sanctions on Iran'

Stocks have fallen as tensions between the US and China soar as China demands the release of telecom giant Huawei's CFO (and founder's daughter) after she was arrested for 'violating U.S. sanctions on Iran'

Stocks have fallen as tensions between the US and China soar as China demands the release of telecom giant Huawei’s CFO (and founder’s daughter) after she was arrested for ‘violating U.S. sanctions on Iran’

‘Someone here on a visitor’s visa is not a resident of B.C. It’s as simple as that, isn’t it?’ Justice Ehrcke asked David Martin in court.  

Ehrcke said he was unsure how Liu could serve as his wife’s surety if he had no authority order that Liu to remain in Canada. 

‘It would be a frustrating and unfortunate exercise if I were to make an order and then you find that there is no suitable surety,’ Ehrcke said. 

‘If the conditions can’t be fulfilled, she’s held in custody so I’m thinking ahead to make sure that you don’t find yourself potentially in that situation.’

Meng’s arrest has rocked stock markets and inflamed tensions amid a truce in the US-China trade war. 

Analysts say the incident – the same day that presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day tariffs truce – could be used as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations between the United States and China.

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