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Canadian Authorities Arrest Huawei’s CFO

Meng Wanzhou, daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhenfei, was arrested in Vancouver, Canada on December 1, 2018. She now faces extradition to US. The deputy chair and chief financial officer of the Chinese telecoms giant was arrested for possibly violating sanctions against Iran according to US media although details haven’t been revealed by the authorities. Chinese embassy in Canada voiced their protest against Meng’s arrest and demanded her release. Huawei stated that it wasn’t aware of Meng’s wrongdoings. Her arrest comes at a time when US and China are already engaged in a trade war with both nations imposing duties worth billions of dollars on each other’s goods and it won’t do any good to the 90-day truce period agreed upon by Trump and Jinping at G20 summit held in Argentina.

Ministry of justice of Canada confirmed the news of Ms Meng’s arrest and said that a bail hearing would be held on Friday but no further information was provided. A US justice department spokesperson also denied commenting on the matter. The treasury and commerce departments of US have asked for documents to be submitted for possible violation of sanctions against both North Korea and Iran. The company has been repeatedly accused by US lawmakers of posing a threat to national security. They say that the Chinese government can apparently also use the technology for spying. American Senator Ben Sasse responded to the arrest by saying that China often makes use of private sector entities to undermine US national security interests. He also expressed his gratitude to Canadian officials for making the arrest.

Huawei said that with Ms Meng being detained while transferring between flights, it had complied with all applicable regulations and laws, including sanction laws, applicable export control and EU, US, UN laws. The firm believes that a just conclusion will be reached by the US and Canadian legal systems. Chinese embassy in Canada however voiced their anger and urged the restoration of Ms Meng’s personal freedom. The company is one of the largest providers of telecommunications services and equipment and has recently overtaken Apple to take the position of second-biggest smartphone maker, with Samsung occupying the top slot. Beijing gaining access to 5G mobiles and communications and having better spying abilities is feared by some Western governments.

BT barred Huawei equipment from heart of 5G network rolled out in UK. New Zealand and Australia too did a similar thing by banning Huawei equipment over concerns of national security. Australia also blocked ZTE equipment. Several Chinese tech firms have been accused by US of posing cyber-security threats. The previous ban by US on ZTE was later replaced with fines and governance charges. US firms are also restricted from selling parts to Fujian Jinhua, Chinese chipmaker.

Trump reinstated every US sanction on Iran last month which were removed in 2015 under a nuclear deal, affecting the country’s banks, shipping and oil exports and hitting their economy hard. According to the deal, Iran, in exchange for sanctions relief, would limit its controversial nuclear activities. US President Donald Trump was fiercely opposed to it. Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of US Treasury, said that any organization or firm attempting to evade their sanctions would be aggressively targeted.

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