By Anna Mehler Paperny
TORONTO, Dec 10 (Reuters) – The CFO of Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is set to be back in a Canadian courtroom on Monday, fighting for her freedom with the help of pressure from Beijing, while prosecutors argue she cannot be trusted.
Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested by Canadian authorities Dec. 1 at the request of the United States.
Meng, 46, faces U.S. accusations that she misled multinational banks about Huawei’s control of a company operating in Iran. This deception put the banks at risk of violating U.S. sanctions and incurring severe penalties, court documents said. U.S. officials allege that Huawei was trying to use the banks to move money out of Iran.
Canadian prosecutors argued against giving her bail while she awaits extradition to the United States.
Meng argued that she should be released on bail while awaiting an extradition hearing due to severe hypertension and fears for her health while incarcerated in Canada, court documents released on Sunday showed. In a sworn affidavit, Meng said she is innocent of the allegations and will contest them at trial in the United States if she is surrendered there.
She was detained while transferring flights in Canada and appeared in a British Columbia court on Friday for her bail hearing. After nearly six hours of arguments and counter arguments, the hearing was adjourned until Monday.
China has strongly criticized her detention and demanded her immediate release. Her arrest has roiled global markets as investors worry that it could torpedo attempts to thaw trade tensions between the United States and China.
Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, has been held in custody since her arrest. Her lawyer argues that this situation is untenable due to her health. Meng said in the sworn affidavit she was taken to a hospital for treatment for hypertension after being detained.
Meng also has sleep apnea and was treated for a carcinoma, lawyer David Martin told court on Friday.
At issue is whether Meng should be set free while her extradition case proceeds. The U.S. has 60 days to file a formal request; if its evidence convinces a judge the case has merit, Canada’s justice minister will decide whether to extradite Meng.
On Monday a judge could decide to set Meng free on any number of conditions, including high-tech surveillance, or to keep her in jail, according to some legal experts.
According to local media reports, Meng is being kept in Alouette Correctional Centre for Women, a Vancouver-area jail. Reuters could not independently verify these reports.
Meng’s wealth and power are undeniable as the financial chief of one of the biggest telecommunications companies in the world, which builds everything from networks to handsets and is seen as one of China’s best chances to change the global technology landscape.
Huawei is now China’s largest technology company by employees, with more than 180,000 staff and revenue of $93 billion in 2017.
(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny Editing by Denny Thomas and)