Meng Wanzhou Arrest: Huawei At The Centre Of Trade War

Meng Wanzhou Arrest: Huawei At The Centre Of Trade War

December 12, 2018 0

In the latest episode of the US-China Trade war a business tycoon has been tangled in the financial war of the two powers of the world. Meng Wanzhou, one of Huawei’s top executives and the eldest daughter of the company’s founder/CEO was arrested in Vancouver.

The businesswoman was arrested as she was changing flights in Vancouver; the charge on which she had been detained was her allegedly breaking US sanctions on Iran and faced extradition to the US. China and Huawei insist that she has not broken any laws but she could be jailed for up to 30 years if found guilty.

This case has found national importance and spot light in all three countries involved (Canada, USA and China). From China’s outrage in the form of forceful opinion pieces in state-run media. For instance, an op-ed from China Daily today reads: “Meng’s detention, together with Washington’s actions vis-à-vis other international incidents and events including the death of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian journalist, reflects the US’ disrespect for both reason and international law.” To US President Donald Trump telling Reuters on Tuesday evening that he might “intervene” in Meng’s case if it serves national interests, though he didn’t specify in what way. “If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made — which is a very important thing — what’s good for national security — I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary,” he said, noting that he hasn’t received a call on the situation from Chinese President Xi Jinping yet. “They have not called me yet. They are talking to my people. But they have not called me yet.”

So what is this all about?

In 2018, Meng was ranked 12th on Forbes’ list of top Chinese businesswomen, she has been a global figure since then.

Meng served on the board for a Hong Kong-based company called Skycom, which allegedly did business with Iran between 2009 and 2014. The Canadian prosecutor alleged that US banks worked with Huawei at this time, so Iran sanctions were indirectly violated, and Meng therefore committed fraud against these banks, according to the prosecutor. The other piece of the puzzle is that Skycom was basically Huawei under a different name, according to the prosecutor. The United States issued an arrest warrant for Meng through a New York court on August 22nd, which is what Canadian authorities acted upon. The US has 60 days from the time of Meng’s arrest on December 1st to provide Canadian courts with evidence and intent, including the decision to make a formal extradition request. If the US doesn’t provide this paperwork, Meng will be let go.

This case is a small manifestation of a larger paranoia of the United States, firstly is showcases the deep mistrust that exists in American authorities regarding Chinese manufacturers and businesses. Secondly it brings to light that maddening obsession America has with Iran. Even after decades of sanctions and strong-arming, the United States refuses to sit with Iran and end the joke that is the American demonization of Iran.

Case Proceedings

Ms. Meng’s property that has been declared as collateral for her bail

Meng’s lawyers argued the mother of four was not a flight risk because of her “strong roots” in Vancouver. She bought a six-bedroom house with her second husband in the city and would return regularly to visit him and her children, some of whom attended Canadian schools until 2012.

That home is now reported to be worth C$5.6m (£3.3m, $4.2m), according to property records and an affidavit Ms Meng read out in court. In 2016, the couple bought a second property, a mansion worth C$16.3m – both homes have been put up as collateral for bail.

On 11th December she was granted bail. As part of the deal, Meng must remain in British Columbia, provide a supervisor with telephone numbers, live at a $5.6 million home that was selected as her residence, and stay indoors from 11PM to 6AM every day. She’ll have to surrender her passports and be under the watch of a security company, while wearing an ankle bracelet.

Part of the ongoing debate during the bail hearing was over which company would monitor Meng and supply a monitoring bracelet if necessary. Meng’s lawyer suggested a bracelet that would be connected to the Rogers network. Interestingly, Rogers has a partnership with Huawei.

Balach Khan
Balach Khan
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