Huawei's Meng faces charges over alleged conspiracy to defraud banks

08 December, 2018, 04:19 | Author: Carlos George
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Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer, appeared in court on Friday as she sought bail in a case which has sparked a major worldwide dispute between China and the US.

She allegedly falsely told banks that Huawei was a separate company from SkyCom Tech so that banks would approve transactions that violated sanctions against Iran.

Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, was arrested Saturday while in transit at Vancouver's airport.

She allegedly assured USA banks that Huawei and Skycom were different companies but prosecutors say they were one and the same.

But now, after Meng appeared in a BC courtroom on Friday for a bail hearing and the publication ban was lifted, reasons for Meng's arrest are being brought to light.

At least one top Trump administration official, national security advisor John Bolton, has said he was aware of the arrest in advance and caused confusion in a radio interview this week as to the motivation of the arrest.

A Canadian government lawyer asked the court to deny her bail, saying she has been accused of "conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions" and if convicted faces more than 30 years in prison.

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

SkyCom employees used Huawei email addresses and bank records linked the two companies together, and SkyCom was used to engage in business deals with sanctioned countries, including with Iranian telecom companies, the court heard.

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Both countries have been locked into a trade war for much of the year, and only agreed last weekend to restart discussions. Concern now centres on the deployment of fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks, where Huawei is at the cutting edge.

Huawei CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei is a former member of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA), where he worked as an engineer helping to build its communications network.

The Crown argues Meng should be denied bail, claiming she is a flight risk. Meng was arrested on December 1 while changing planes on a trip from Hong Kong to Mexico.

In January 2013, Reuters reported that Skycom, which attempted to sell embargoed Hewlett-Packard computer equipment to Iran's largest mobile-phone operator, had much closer ties to Huawei than previously known.

It's a case that could have potentially major implications for our country's relationship with China, and we're now finding out why the CFO of Huawei is wanted by the United States. The company is a privately held juggernaut with projected 2018 sales of more than US$102 billion that has already overtaken Apple in smartphone sales.

USA and Asian stock markets tumbled after news of Meng's arrest as it was seen to cause another flare-up in tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Meng's bio on the company website says she joined in 1993 and held various positions across the company, including director of global accounting and CFO of Huawei Hong Kong.

For a period of time she was in charge of Huawei's successful internationalization efforts.

The U.S. has led a charge to ban the use of Huawei products among its allies, particularly the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network that also includes Canada, Australia, Britain and New Zealand.

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