- Canadian authorities have arrested Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou.
- US officials have been investigating Huawei over alleged violations of the country’s sanctions on Iran and are seeking to extradite Meng.
- The arrest comes amid a trade war between the US and China.
The chief financial officer of the Chinese tech and telecoms giant Huawei has been arrested in Canada at the request of US authorities and faces extradition to the United States.
The Canadian Justice Department arrested Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on Saturday, and US officials want Canada to extradite her, the agency representative Ian McLeod said in an email to Business Insider. She will have a bail hearing on Friday, he added.
“As there is a publication ban in effect, we cannot provide any further detail at this time,” McLeod said, adding, “The ban was sought by Ms. Meng.”
Canadian authorities “provisionally detained” Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, while she was transferring flights in the country, the company spokesman Chase Skinner said in a statement. She was arrested at the request of the US, he said.
Meng was arrested on suspicion of violating the US’s trade sanctions on Iran, The Globe And Mail and the South China Morning Post reported. But Skinner said Huawei was unclear on why she was detained.
“The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng,” he said. “The company believes the Canadian and US legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion.”
He continued: “Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US and EU.”
GOP senator praises the arrest
The US Department of Justice spokesman Marc Raimondi declined to comment on Meng’s arrest or the circumstances surrounding it. But Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska praised the move, accusing China of undermining the US’s national security interests.
“Sometimes Chinese aggression is explicitly state-sponsored and sometimes it’s laundered through many of Beijing’s so-called ‘private’ sector entities that are in bed with Xi’s Communist Party,” Sasse said in a statement, referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Huawei is one of China’s most prominent technology companies – a huge telecommunications firm and the world’s second-biggest smartphone manufacturer.
Its devices have come under scrutiny from US authorities over spying fears, and the arrest of its CFO has the potential to further inflame tensions between the two countries amid their trade war.
US authorities have been investigating Huawei since at least 2016 on suspicion of shipping US-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of US export and sanctions laws, sources told Reuters in April.
According to Meng’s official company biography, she joined the company in 1993 and also serves as deputy chairwoman of the board.