Canada arrested the chief financial officer of Huawei on suspicion of violating US sanctions against Iran, according to The Globe and Mail. The CFO, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Vancouver on Saturday at the request of US law enforcement and is facing extradition to the US.
It’s an extremely high-profile arrest, the first major break in a probe that has mostly been kept from the public and only after long-harbored suspicions about Huawei have become widespread. Meng happens to be the daughter of Huawei’s founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, a former People’s Liberation Army engineer whose connection to the Chinese Communist Party has contributed to the suspicions of US intelligence agencies. Meng also serves as deputy chair on Huawei’s board.
“The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng,” Huawei told Engadget in a statement. “The company believes the Canadian and US legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion.”
China’s embassy in Canada on Thursday demanded the immediate release of Chinese national Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested by Canadian police at the request of the US, even though she hasn’t violated any US or Canadian laws, calling the move a serious violation of human rights. pic.twitter.com/wM5HqFrjde
— People’s Daily,China (@PDChina) December 6, 2018
Although the arrest occurred on Saturday, it was just publicized today as the US Justice Department told The Globe and Mail in a statement that Meng’s bail hearing is set for Friday. The department spokesperson couldn’t share more details because Meng had requested a publication ban.
Suspicions against Huawei have existed for years and recently, in April, the Justice Department launched a probe into whether Huawei violated sanctions against Iran. Details of the probe remain vague. Another Chinese smartphone maker, ZTE, had already been fined $1.2 billion for selling goods to Iran and North Korea.
Update December 6th, 9:45PM ET: Added portion of Huawei’s statement to Engadget.