China warns Canada there will be 'severe consequences' over Huawei chief's arrest

Detention of Meng Wanzhou ‘extremely nasty’, Beijing says

Adam Forrest
Saturday 08 December 2018 17:51
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Ms Meng faces extradition to the US
Ms Meng faces extradition to the US

China has warned Canada there will be “severe consequences” if the country’s authorities did not immediately release the chief financial officer of telecoms giant Huawei who was arrested at Vancouver airport earlier this month.

Meng Wanzhou was detained on 1 December and faces extradition to the United States to face fraud charges.

Prosecutors have alleged that she covered up her company’s links to a firm that violated sanctions by attempting to sell equipment to Iran.

China’s foreign ministry said that vice foreign minister Le Yucheng had issued the warning to Canada’s ambassador in Beijing, summoning him and lodging a “strong protest” about Ms Meng’s treatment.

Canada’s arrest of Ms Meng at the request of the US while she was changing planes in Vancouver “ignored the law” and was also “extremely nasty,” he added.

“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.”

The 46-year-old finance chief is also the daughter of Huawei’s founder.

If extradited to the US, Ms Meng would face charges of conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions, a Canadian court heard on Friday, with a maximum sentence of 30 years for each charge.

US prosecutors claim she used at least seven passports from China and Hong Kong over 11 years.

No decision was reached at Friday’s extradition hearing after nearly six hours of deabte.

Canadian prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley alleged that Huawei had done business in Iran through a Hong Kong company called Skycom.

Ms Meng, he claimed, had misled US banks into thinking that Huawei and Skycom were separate when, in fact, “Skycom was Huawei”. Ms Meng said Huawei sold Skycom in 2009.

The hearing was adjourned until next week.

Ms Weng was detained on the same day US president Donald Trump met with China’s Xi Jinping to look for ways to resolve an escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

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Her arrest has drawn strong condemnation from Chinese authorities, but Trump administration officials have played down its importance to trade talks after the two leaders agreed to a truce.

A Huawei spokesman said the company has “every confidence that the Canadian and US legal systems will reach the right conclusion”.

The company has also insisted it complies with all applicable export and sanctions laws.

Additional reporting by agencies

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