Canadian Court: Huawei CFO Faces Fraud Charges In The US

Photo by Janitors via Flickr

Last Friday, a Canadian court revealed that Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, faces charges of fraud in the United States of America.

Wanzhou is 46 years old. She is accused of violating the sanctions that were imposed by the United States on Iran. The Supreme Court of British Columbia said that Wanzhou had made use of Skycom, a subsidiary of Huawei, as a means to evade the said sanction, however, the court said that it had publicly misrepresented the firm as a separate entity.

Once she is found guilty, she will face a maximum of 30 years in prison. A Canadian government lawyer said that she is alleged of “conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions” having deceived bankers in the United States that they were different firms, when in reality, “Skycom is Huawei.”

The lawyer said that Wanzhou should be denied bail because of her being a flight risk.

Wanzhou was detained by the authorities in Canada last Saturday. The public was made aware of her arrest late on Wednesday evening. The news triggered a sell-off in Europe, Asia, and the United States as some investors feared an intensification of tensions between China and the US.

The CFO is also the daughter of Ren Zhengfe, the founder of Huawei. She had a bail hearing on Friday. After five hours in a Vancouver court, it has been adjourned until this coming Monday as they decide if they would allow bail.

The charges that Wanzhou faced were not clear beyond the threat of extradition to the United States after she asked for a publication ban, however, that has now been overturned by the court.

China has asked for her release. It insisted that she has not broken any laws. However, the news now endangers to reignite a trade war between the US and China days after a 90-day truce had been agreed upon.