Huawei CFO Case Deepens Amid Documents Discovery

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Sanction busting? Documents reportedly show suspected ties to two front companies used to sell kit to Iran

New documents have been uncovered which allegedly show the close links between Chinese networking giant Huawei and two holding companies at the centre of of sanction busting allegations in Iran.

The investigation, carried out by Reuters, has to do with the arrest in early December of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and deputy chair.

The arrest prompted a furious response from China, but Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on behalf of US officials, who are investigating Huawei over possible violation of sanctions against Iran.

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Sanctions busting

Meng, 46, reportedly faces US accusations that she misled multinational banks about Huawei’s control of a couple of companies operating in Iran.

The company in question is Hong-Kong-based Skycom Tech Co. Ltd and its shell company Canicula Holdings Ltd, based in Mauritius.

Canicula also reportedly had an office in Syria, until two years ago.

The US allegation is that Huawei used these firms as an ‘unofficial subsidiary’ to conduct business in Iran.

The firm allegedly sold mobile network equipment to several major telecommunications companies in Iran; as well as selling Hewlett-Packard computer equipment in 2010 to Iran’s largest mobile-phone operator.

This alleged deception apparently put the banks at risk of violating US sanctions and incurring severe penalties.

American officials allege CFO Meng Wanzhou deceived international banks into clearing transactions with Iran by claiming the two companies were independent of Huawei, when in fact the documents allegedly show that Huawei controlled them.

Huawei links?

Reuters said it has uncovered new documents that allegedly show the company’s links to the two companies.

The corporate filings and other documents found by Reuters in Iran and Syria allegedly show that a high-level Huawei executive appears to have been appointed Skycom’s Iran manager.

The documents also allegedly show that at least three Chinese-named individuals had signing rights for both Huawei and Skycom bank accounts in Iran.

Reuters also discovered that a Middle Eastern lawyer said Huawei conducted operations in Syria through Canicula.

It is reported that the discovery of these new documents could undermine Huawei’s claims that Skycom was merely an arms-length business partner.

Meng did not respond to a request for comment by Reuters, and Huawei declined to answer questions for this story.

Meng was released on £5.9 million) bail on 11 December but remains in Vancouver while Washington tries to extradite her.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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