A Canadian provincial court deciding whether to grant bail to a top executive of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies, who is currently facing possible extradition to the United States, adjourned on Monday without coming up with a decision.
US prosecutors are aiming for Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou to be extradited in order to take on the accusations that she has misled multinational banks about Huawei’s control of a company operating in Iran, putting the banks at risk of violating US sanctions which would have resulted in them incurring a number of penalties, the court documents said.
Meng, who is the 46-year-old daughter of Huawei’s founder, was arrested on December 1 as she was changing planes in Vancouver. In a sworn affidavit, she stated that she is innocent and will contest the allegations against her at trial if she is surrendered to the United States.
The judge in Monday’s bail hearing said that he rolled the proceedings over to Tuesday because he wants to hear more about the issue of surety, which is the question of who will take responsibility for Meng’s actions if she is released.
However, the judge and the public prosecutor raised questions over whether Meng’s husband could perform this duty as he is not a resident of British Columbia, where Vancouver is located, and would not suffer if she were to breach her bail condition.
Meng’s arrest has roiled markets over the concerns that it would worsen the tensions between the United States and China, which are already horns-locked over trade tariffs. The two countries have agreed to a truce and trade negotiations that must be concluded by March 1.
Beijing has demanded Meng’s immediate release and threatened “consequences” for Canada. However, both Chinese and US officials appear to be avoiding linking her arrest to the trade friction.
Meng’s lawyer offered C$14 million in property equity and C$1 million in cash as a guarantee. The public prosecutor said that he wanted half in cash and half in property.
At one point the judge asked why Meng had avoided travel to the United States since 2017 if not to avoid the arrest. Martin cited a “hostile” climate toward Huawei in the United States.
“I ask the court to ask itself, what motive could she possibly have to flee?” Martin said, stating that the evidence against her was not overwhelming. “If she were to flee, or breach order in any way … it doesn’t overstate things to say she would embarrass China itself.”
Meng appeared confident in court early on Monday, smiling and taking her lawyer’s arm. However, by mid-afternoon she appeared tenser.
She has argued that she needs to be released because she has severe hypertension and fears for her health.
Huawei is the world’s biggest supplier of telecommunications network equipment and second-biggest maker of smartphones, with revenue of nearly $92 billion last year. Not like other big Chinese technology firms, it does much of its business overseas.
US officials allege that Huawei was trying to use the banks to move money out of Iran. Companies are barred from using the US financial systems to funnel goods and services to sanctioned entities.
Huawei and its lawyers have said the company operates in strict compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and sanctions of the United States and other parties.
“We will continue to follow the bail hearing tomorrow. We have every confidence that the Canadian and US legal systems will reach a just conclusion,” the company stated on Monday.