Canada has arrested Chinese telecommunications major Huawei’s global chief financial officer in Vancouver, the country’s Department of Justice said on Wednesday, Reuters reported. Meng Wanzhou, who is one of the vice chairpersons on Huawei’s board of directors and the daughter of founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested on December 1. A court will hear the case on Friday.
The United States government has been investigating Huawei over a possible violation of its sanctions against Iran, but the reasons for Meng’s arrest have not been made public, BBC reported. Canada’s department of justice cited a publication ban as the reason for its decision not to share information about the matter, The Washington Post reported.
However, Meng faces extradition to the United States. She was arrested while she was changing flights in Canada.
The Chinese embassy in Canada reportedly protested against Meng’s arrest and demanded she be released. Huawei, on the other hand, released a statement saying it was unaware of any wrongdoing on the part of the chief financial officer. It said the arrest was made on the behalf of the United States. “The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms Meng,” the statement said. “The company believes the Canadian and US legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion.”
Huawei said it “complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including export control and sanction laws”, as well as United Nations, United States and European Union regulations.
US Senator Benjamin Sasse praised the arrest. “Sometimes Chinese aggression is explicitly state-sponsored and sometimes it’s laundered through many of Beijing’s so-called ‘private’ sector entities,” he claimed. Sasse said Meng was arrested for “breaking sanctions against Iran”.
The development follows an agreement between the United States and China to halt new trade tariffs for 90 days as both nations decided to engage in new trade negotiations. The arrest may strain Sino-US ties further.