Iran connection emerges as Canada's envoy briefs China on Huawei arrest

Chinese Tech Exec Faces 30 Years in Prison in U.S., Canadian Prosecutor Says

A federal prosecutor told a bail hearing for Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on Friday that the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies is wanted in the United States on criminal allegations that Huawei used its subsidiary Skycom to do business with Iranian telecommunications companies between 2009 and 2014.

Two state-run media outlets in China have come out with blistering attacks on the U.S. related to the arrest in recent days of Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou, who faces extradition here, saying the arrest is just a backdoor way for the USA to try to hobble the company. What we do know about the Meng case is that she has been charged with being part of a conspiracy "perpetuated at Huawei's highest levels" to defraud banks-and if convicted faces up to 30 years in prison.

China has demanded that Canada release the arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou or face consequences.

No decision was reached at the extradition hearing after almost six hours of arguments and counter-arguments, and the hearing was adjourned until Monday.

The case against Meng stems from a 2013 Reuters report about the company's close ties to Hong Kong-based Skycom Tech Co Ltd, which attempted to sell USA equipment to Iran despite United States and European Union bans, the prosecutor told a Vancouver court. Ms Meng is said to have concealed and misrepresented links between Huawei and Skycom from banks, implicating them in the violation of U.S. and European sanctions as they cleared transactions for Huawei.

Meng, who also has used the English names Cathy and Sabrina, served on the board of Skycom between February 2008 and April 2009, according to Skycom records and several other past and present Skycom directors appear to have connections to Huawei.

A major pillar of the US case is a misrepresentation that Meng allegedly made to a USA bank in 2013, referred to as "Financial Institution 1".

How Meng's case will play out remains to be seen.

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She was arrested while changing planes in Vancouver and is facing extradition to the United States.

Meng's lawyer said at the hearing that the fact that a person has extraordinary resources can not be a factor that would exclude them from bail. The prosecutor said she is accused of fraud.

Huawei is legally obliged to abide by US-imposed sanctions on Iran because it uses United States technology in its routers and other products. Then it is up to Canada's justice minister to decide whether to extradite her.

A Huawei spokesman said on Friday the company has "every confidence that the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will reach the right conclusion".

"Not respecting this particular arrest, but Huawei is one company we've been concerned about", he said. But we're going to have to live with that. Huawei has said "the company has been provided with little information regarding the charges and it's not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng". It also says that Meng and Huawei misled American banks about its business dealings in Iran.

"As the company's vice president and chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou would have been the one who signed off on all documents", Ming said.

The probe of Huawei is similar to one that threatened the survival of China's ZTE Corp, which pleaded guilty in 2017 to violating United States laws that restrict the sale of American-made technology to Iran.

The extradition process could take months, even years, if appeals are made in the case.

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