Canada has arrested the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies who is facing extradition to the United States on suspicion she violated U.S. trade sanctions against Iran.
Wanzhou Meng, who is also the deputy chair of Huawei’s board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Vancouver at the request of U.S. authorities.
“Wanzhou Meng was arrested in Vancouver on December 1. She is sought for extradition by the United States, and a bail hearing has been set for Friday,” Justice department spokesperson Ian McLeod said in a statement to The Globe and Mail. “As there is a publication ban in effect, we cannot provide any further detail at this time. The ban was sought by Ms. Meng.
A Canadian source with knowledge of the arrest said U.S. law enforcement authorities are alleging that Ms. Meng tried to evade the U.S. trade embargo against Iran but provided no further details..
U.S. prosecutors in New York have been investigating whether Huawei violated U.S. sanctions in relation to Iran. News of the probe broke in April 2018 when it was reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Since at least 2016, U.S. authorities have been reviewing Huawei's alleged shipping of U.S.-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of U.S. export and sanctions laws.
The Justice Department probe, first reported by the Wall Street Journal in April, follows a series of U.S. actions aimed at stopping or reducing access by Huawei and Chinese smartphone maker ZTE Corp to the U.S. economy amid allegations the companies could be using their technology to spy on Americans.
The probe is reportedly being run out of the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn, the sources said. However, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in April 2018 declined to confirm or deny the existence of the investigation.
Ms. Meng is a rising star at Shenzhen-based Huawei, now the world’s second-largest maker of telecommunications equipment. Reuters reported in 2013 that Ms. Meng served on the board of a Hong Kong-based Skycom Tech Co. Ltd. that later attempted to sell embargoed Hewitt Packard computer equipment to Iran’s largest mobile-phone operator.
At least 13 pages of the Skycom proposal were marked “Huawei confidential” and carried Huawei’s logo. Huawei has said neither it nor Skycom ultimately provided the HP equipment. HP said it prohibits the sale of its products to Iran.
-With files from Reuters