|The chief financial officer of China's global telecommunications giant Huawei has been arrested in Canada and faces extradition to the United States, triggering a strong protest from Beijing. AFP|
By Jung Min-ho
|Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou has been arrested in Canada at the request of U.S. authorities. She is pictured at VTB Capital's 'RUSSIA CALLING' investment forum in Moscow on Oct. 2, 2014. EPA|
Canada's Department of Justice said Wednesday (local time) that Meng Wanzhou, 46, who is also the deputy chair of the company's board and the daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1 on suspicion of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.
She is now facing extradition to the United States.
"She is sought for extradition by the United States and a bail hearing has been set for Friday," Justice Department spokesman Ian McLeod told the Globe and Mail, a local paper. "As there is a publication ban in effect, we cannot provide any further detail at this time. The ban was sought by Ms. Meng."
A Huawei spokesperson said Canadian authorities detained Meng on behalf of the United States when she was transferring flights in Canada.
"The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng," the spokesperson said. "The company believes the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion. Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations of the U.N., U.S. and EU."
China's embassy in Ottawa criticized the arrest and called for her immediate release.
The arrest came only days after U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed in Argentina to resolve the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. Now the fate of the agreement is in doubt.
Huawei, one of the world's biggest telecommunications equipment and services providers, has been scrutinized by the U.S. and its allies as experts suspect that its devices can be used for espionage.
On Wednesday, BT, the U.K. telecoms group, said it was in the process of removing Huawei equipment from key parts of its 3G and 4G networks.
Governments in Australia and New Zealand recently decided to ban the use of Huawei devices in their 5G infrastructure rollout, as has the United States. Other countries, including Canada, are considering the move.