Canada arrests Huawei CFO at U.S. request

Canadian authorities December 1 arrested Meng Wanzhou, Huawei CFO and daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, according to Canada’s Department of Justice. Meng faces extradition to the U.S., apparently in connection with charges that the Chinese communications technology giant sold products to Iran containing U.S. technology in violation of a U.S. ban on exports to the Middle Eastern country.

Canadian authorities December 1 arrested Meng Wanzhou, Huawei CFO and daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, according to Canada’s Department of Justice. Meng faces extradition to the U.S., apparently in connection with charges that the Chinese communications technology giant sold products to Iran containing U.S. technology in violation of a U.S. ban on exports to the Middle Eastern country.

The U.S. Department of Commerce severely sanctioned fellow Chinese communications technology supplier ZTE on similar charges, banning the company’s access to essential U.S. technology for seven years (see “U.S. Commerce Dept. finds ZTE violated export disciplinary agreement, bans U.S. component supply”). The ban nearly put the company out of business before negotiations led the Commerce Department to soften its stance (see “ZTE back in business as Commerce technology ban suspended”). News reports earlier this year suggested the U.S. was investigating Huawei for similar violations (see “U.S. now investigating Huawei: Reports”).

The Chinese government swiftly condemned the arrest. An unidentified spokesperson quoted in a statement issued by China’s Canadian embassy decried the arrest of “a Chinese citizen not violating any American or Canadian law.” The arrest “seriously harmed the human rights of the victim,” the embassy spokesperson continued and called for Meng’s immediate release.

Meanwhile, in a press conference today, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said, “The Chinese side has lodged stern representations with and made clear its stern position to the Canadian side and the U.S. side respectively on this, demanding them to immediately clarify the reason for the detention, immediately release the detainee, and earnestly protect the legal and legitimate rights and interests of the person involved.”

Huawei also issued a statement, which revealed that Meng was arrested “on unspecified charges” while changing planes. It stated the company complies with the laws of all countries in which it operates.

News reports say Meng will have a bail hearing in Canada Friday, December 7.

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