Trump says he could intervene in Huawei CFO case

12 December, 2018, 23:57 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Huawei CFO is probably a Trump trade hostage

The prime minister is responding to U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese officials over a pair of stories around the arrest of Huawei's CFO in Vancouver and the detention of a former Canadian diplomat in China.

Reports of Michael Kovrig's disappearance came just hours before Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer for Huawei Technologies, was due to appear in court for a bail hearing on United States charges related to alleged Iran sanctions violations.

The courtroom erupted in applause when the judge granted bail.

As part of the ruling, Wanzhou must pay $10 million, with $7 million coming from cash deposits and the remaining $3 million coming from five or more sureties - people who commit to ensuring she doesn't flee and abides by all terms of the bail.

Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the Global Times newspaper, wrote on Twitter that Kovrig's detention "stemmed from Canada arresting Meng Wanzhou", but believes there is "no evidence [that] suggests this is [the] Chinese government's retaliation". If so, Meng would face U.S. charges of conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions, with a maximum sentence of 30 years for each charge.

"The Chinese side resolutely opposes this and strongly urges the U.S. to attach great importance to China's solemn stance and immediately take measures to correct wrong practices and withdraw arrest warrants against Chinese citizens", Le added.

In an interview with Reuters news agency on Tuesday, Mr Trump said he would intervene in the US Justice Department's case against Ms Meng if it would serve national security interests or help achieve a trade deal with China.

Citing security concerns, the United States government has taken a series of steps to block the company from some parts of the USA market, which is widely perceived in China as an effort to hold the company back.

Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng earlier summoned both the USA and Canadian ambassadors and lodged a "strong protest" urging her release. Reuters was not able to confirm the report.

Beijing has said that the Hong Kong-based organization for which Kovrig now works was not properly registered in China.

Michael Kovrig's current employer, the International Crisis Group, said it was working for his prompt release. "If they want to send you a message, they will send you a message", he said.


If found guilty, Meng, 46, could be sentenced to 30 years in prison for each fraud and conspiracy charge she faces.

No decision was reached Monday on whether bail will be granted, and court hearings will proceed Tuesday.

Her arrest has infuriated China, calling it "extremely bad".

David Martin said one person who offered a financial guarantee was a real estate agent who met Meng in 2009 and sold two properties to the couple.

"I do not have information to provide you here", Lu said when asked about Kovrig. Police will also make unannounced visits to her residence. A Canadian judge has set the bail for Meng Wanzhou at $10 million.

Meng has said that she should be released on bail due to severe hypertension and fears for her health while incarcerated in Canada, court documents released on Sunday showed.

Meng is a high-profile executive at Huawei, one of the world's biggest makers of smartphones and networking equipment.

The Chinese government said its economy czar had discussed plans with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer for talks aimed at settling the two countries' differences.

USA prosecutors have accused Meng of using a subsidiary to sell to Iran in what allegedly amounted to breaching sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.

Huawei is the world's largest supplier of telecommunications network equipment and second-biggest maker of smartphones, with revenue of about $92 billion previous year.

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