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Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou Arrested and Now Everyone Is Very Nervous

07 December 2018
Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou Arrested and Now Everyone Is Very Nervous

China reacted furiously Thursday after a top executive and daughter of the founder of Chinese telecom giant Huawei were arrested in Canada following a U.S. extradition request, threatening to rattle a trade war truce with the United States.

"As there is a publication ban in effect, we can not provide any further detail at this time", McLeod said, adding, "The ban was sought by Ms. Meng".

In a statement, Huawei, the second largest smart-phone seller globally after Samsung, said Ms Meng's extradition was prompted by unspecified charges in the Eastern District of NY when she was transferring flights in Canada.

"Americans are grateful that our Canadian partners have arrested the Chief Financial Officer of a giant Chinese telecom company for breaking U.S. sanctions against Iran", he said.

Huawei, in that statement, also said the company complies with all applicable US and Canadian laws. "The company believes the Canadian and USA legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion", Huawei said.

China has demanded her release, calling the arrest a human rights violation.

China's foreign ministry urged Canada and the United States to "clarify" the reason Ms Meng was detained. She was arrested December 1 after the U.S. Department of Justice in April opened an investigation into whether the telecommunications giant sold gear to Iran despite sanctions on exports to the region.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that United States authorities are investigating whether Chinese tech giant Huawei violated sanctions on Iran.

The SCMP obtained a transcript of an internal question-and-answer between Meng and her father, Huawei's founder Ren Zhengfei.

The arrest, while notable, did not come out of the blue.

"I can assure everyone that we are a country [with] an independent judiciary", he said.

The move comes at a challenging time for Trudeau, whose attempts to boost trade ties with China are sputtering. The Globe and Mail newspaper, citing law enforcement sources, said she is suspected of trying to evade US trade curbs on Iran.

Canada's The Globe and Mail reported that Wanzhou Meng was arrested four days ago. Trump restored access after ZTE agreed to pay a $1 billion fine, replace its executive team and embed a USA -chosen compliance team in the company.

Chinese officials on Thursday blasted Meng's arrest - but experts warn more forceful actions, including the possibility of tit-for-tat detentions of high-profile citizens, could be coming.

The arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer, unfolded on the same night that President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China dined together in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and agreed to a 90-day trade truce. Huawei is by far China's most global technology company, with operations spanning Africa, Europe and Asia.

The United States sees Huawei and smaller Chinese tech suppliers as possible fronts for spying and as commercial competitors.

The U.S. Justice Department didn't immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

However, the company has been plagued with problems in the USA where lawmakers and intelligence officials have labeled the Chinese firm a threat to national security because of its close connections with Beijing, arguing that the company's technology could be used to spy on Americans. The U.S. has also banned all governmental agencies from buying or using Huawei phones or equipment.

Meng, who was collared by Canadian authorities at Vancouver airport, is now facing extradition to the U.S., where she will, it is believed, face allegations she broke sanctions on selling equipment to Iran.

The arrest drew a quick reaction in Washington.

U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican member of the Senate armed services and banking committees, applauded Canada for the arrest.