6 Dec 2018

Huawei chief financial officer arrested in Canada

1:21 pm on 6 December 2018

Canadian authorities have arrested Huawei's chief financial officer at the request of US law enforcement.

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The daughter of Huawei's founder, and the firm's current deputy chair, has been arrested in Canada. Photo: AFP

Wanzhou Meng, the deputy chair of the Chinese telecommunications giant, was arrested in Vancouver on 1 December, a spokesman for Canada's Department of Justice said.

She is being sought for extradition by the United States, he said.

Huawei said it had little information about the charges and was "not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms Meng".

Ms Meng is the daughter of Huawei's founder. She was detained while transferring between flights, the firm said.

She will face a bail hearing on Friday, the spokesman for Canada's Department of Justice said.

He declined to say more about the case, citing a publication ban requested by Ms Meng and ordered by the courts.

US media have reported that the US is investigating Huawei for potential violations of US sanctions against Iran.

US lawmakers have also repeatedly accused the company of being a threat to US national security, arguing that its technology could be used for spying by the Chinese government.

In a statement, Huawei said it complied with "all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US and EU".

"The company believes the Canadian and US legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion."

A spokesman for the US Justice Department in the Eastern District of New York - which Huawei said had brought the charges - declined to comment.

The arrest comes as the US has brought a number of legal cases against Chinese technology firms, with accusations such as cyber-security theft and violations of US sanctions against Iran.

US authorities have been probing Huawei since at least 2016 for allegedly shipping US-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of US export and sanctions laws, sources told Reuters in April.

Earlier this year, it barred US companies from exporting to Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE over violations of the Iranian sanctions, effectively shutting down the firm.

The US later replaced the ban with a fine and governance changes.

Huawei has recently been embroiled in reports of security concerns by western nations, who have recently become increasingly wary of what they say is possible Chinese government involvement in 5G mobile networks and other communications networks.

The Wall Street Journal reported the US government was trying to persuade companies in allied countries to avoid Huawei.

Huawei has repeatedly insisted Beijing has no influence over it.

Australia and New Zealand have already turned down Huawei's offer to supply 5G equipment to telecommunication companies, citing security risks.

GCSB Minister Andrew Little said the decision to turn down the overseas network provider was because the technology was too risky - not because the company is Chinese.

Mr Little won't reveal what significant national security risks Huawei poses saying the information was classified.

Huawei has repeatedly denied engaging in intelligence work for any government and is seeking an urgent meeting with the New Zealand government.

According to CNBC, a UK telecommunications firm, BT, has also decided not to use the tech giant's key equipment for the development of a 5G network.

The report said existing Huawei equipment at the firm's current 3G and 4G networks would also be removed.

Canada is yet to take any action against the Chinese company's 5G technology.

The country has already been warned by US senators against the use of Huawei in its telecommunications networks.


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