President Trump Ready To Intervene In Huawei CFO Arrest

The chief financial officer CFO of Huawei has been released from jail after a court appearance in Canada.

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and deputy chair, was arrested in Canada on 1 December, on behalf of US officials investigating Huawei over possible violation of sanctions against Iran.

The arrest of the daughter of the founder of Huawei triggered an angry reaction and at the weekend China’s government vowed there would be consequences. And in a sign of the political aspect of the case, President Trump has signalled his willingness to get involved.

Bail conditions

Wanzhou had argued in court that she should be released on bail while awaiting an extradition hearing, and cited her long-standing ties to Canada, the two properties she owns in Vancouver and fears for her health while incarcerated.

Indeed, Wanzhou was taken to a hospital for treatment for hypertension after being detained.

She denied was a flight risk, although US officials alleged she has used at least seven passports in 11 years.

And she eventually got her way, when Wanzhou, aged 46, was granted bail in a court hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Justice William Ehrcke granted $7.5 million bail to Meng, according to Reuters.

The courtroom reportedly erupted in applause when the decision was announced. Meng cried and hugged her lawyers.

As part of her bail conditions, the executive must wear an ankle monitor and stay at home from 11pm to 6am.

If Canada decides the evidence against her is strong enough, it will be up to Canada’s justice minister to decide whether to extradite her to the United States.

Iranian sanctions

Wanzhou reportedly faces US accusations that she misled multinational banks about Huawei’s control of a company operating in Iran.

The company in question is Honh-Kong-based Skycom Tech Co. Ltd, and the US allegation is that Huawei used this firm 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, according to court documents seen by Reuters.

American officials allege that Huawei was trying to use the banks to move money out of Iran.

Trump intervention

Meanwhile, the political nature of the arrest comes amid growing tensions and a trade war between the United States and China.

Indeed, President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would intervene in the Justice Department’s case against a top executive at China’s Huawei if it would serve national security interests or help close a trade deal with China.

When asked if he would intervene with the Justice Department in her case, Trump said in an interview with Reuters: “Whatever’s good for this country, I would do.”

“If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made – which is a very important thing – what’s good for national security – I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary,” Trump said.

Huawei meanwhile is under severe pressure after a number of countries banned the use of its equipment in the construction of government and 5G networks.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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