Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou's lawyers fight for her freedom at bail hearing
China to Canada: Free Huawei CFO or face consequences
Attorneys for Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, told a Canadian court Monday that their client was willing to wear an ankle monitor and pay a surveillance company to keep tabs on her.
Meng was detained by Canadian authorities at the request of the U.S. during a layover at Vancouver's airport on Dec. 1. The U.S. has accused Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment in Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. Meng is personally accused of misleading banks about the company's business dealings in Iran and could face up to 30 years in prison if extradited to the U.S. and convicted in a federal court.
In arguing against Meng's application for temporary release, Canadian prosecutors said Friday that the 46-year-old has vast resources and a strong incentive to flee the country.
On Monday, Meng attorney David Martin said his client's husband would put up both their Vancouver homes plus $1 million Canadian ($750,000) for a total value of $15 million Canadian ($11.2 million) as collateral.
The defense's bond proposal would restrict Meng's travel to Vancouver and surrounding municipalities. Called by the defense, Scott Filer of Lions Gate Risk Management group said his company would make a citizen's arrest if she breaches bail conditions.
Meng's attorneys have also argued that their client's health would suffer while detained. The Wall Street Journal, citing the defense documents, reported that Meng underwent surgery to treat thyroid cancer in 2011, currently suffers from hypertension, and had surgery on her jaw and throat to fix issues related to sleep apnea earlier this year, making it difficult for her to eat solid food.
Huawei CFO’s arrest renews US-China trade fears
Meng's arrest has fueled U.S.-China trade tensions at a time when the two countries are seeking to resolve a dispute over Beijing's technology and industrial strategy. The United States has slapped tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports, charging that China steals American technology and forces U.S. companies to turn over trade secrets. Tariffs on $200 billion of those imports were scheduled to rise from 10 percent to 25 percent on Jan. 1.
But over dinner Dec. 1 with Chinese President Xi Jin Ping in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Trump agreed to delay the tariff increase for 90 days, buying time for more negotiations. That same day, Meng was detained in Vancouver.
China formally protested to the ambassadors of both Canada and the United States over the weekend, with Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng warning both countries that Beijing would take steps based on their response. Asked Monday what those steps might be, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said only that "it totally depends on the Canadian side itself."
The Canadian province of British Columbia has already canceled a trade mission to China amid fears China could detain Canadians in retaliation for Meng's detention.
Huawei, the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies, has become the target of U.S. security concerns because of its ties to the Chinese government. The U.S. has pressured other countries to limit use of its technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information.
Lu, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, accused unnamed countries of hyping the "so-called" threat. "I must tell you that not a single piece of evidence have they ever presented to back their allegation," he said. "To create obstacles for companies' normal operations based on speculation is quite absurd."
Canadian officials have declined to comment on Chinese threats of retaliation, instead emphasizing the independence of Canada's judiciary and the importance of Ottawa's relationship with Beijing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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