Chinese telecommunications major Huawei’s global Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou faces fraud charges in the United States for allegedly covering up her company’s links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions, Reuters reported quoting a Canadian prosecutor.
Meng, 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 at the request of US authorities, but her arrest was not revealed until Wednesday. She faces extradition to the US.
Meng is accused of “conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions” and if convicted faces more than 30 years in prison in the US, the Canadian lawyer said while asking the Vancouver court to deny her bail request, AFP reported. The case has been adjourned until Monday.
The prosecutor said Meng had personally denied to American bankers any direct connections between Huawei and Hong Kong-based SkyCom. A 2013 Reuters report said that SkyCom attempted to sell US equipment to Iran despite US and European Union bans.
SkyCom’s alleged sanctions breaches occurred from 2009 to 2014, according to AFP. The prosecutor suggested that Meng has shown a pattern of avoiding the US since becoming aware of the investigation, has no ties to Canada and has access to vast wealth and connections, thus posing a flight risk.
Meng’s arrest follows an agreement between the US 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.