Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Huawei exec accused of fraud over Iran sanctions

Huawei exec accused of fraud over Iran sanctions

The prosecutor said Meng assured U.S. banks that Huawei and the shell company alleged to have done business with Iran, called Skycom, were separate companies, but in fact Skycom and Huawei were one and the same.

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, 46, who is also the daughter of the company founder, was arrested on December 1 at the request of the United States.

The U.S.is accusing the company of using subsidiary Skycom to do business with Iran, which would bypass sanctions.

In January 2013, Reuters reported that Skycom, which attempted to sell embargoed Hewlett-Packard computer equipment to Iran's largest mobile-phone operator, had much closer ties to Huawei than previously known.

Canada's Justice Department has declined to provide details of the case but a judge on Friday lifted a publication ban on the evidence or documents presented in court.

Meng's lawyer, David Martin, said: "The fact a person has worked hard and has extraordinary resources can not be a factor that would exclude them from bail".

Earlier on Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said neither Canada nor the USA provided China any evidence that Meng had broken any law in the two countries, and demanded her release. "Let's see who doesn't get a permit or which United States executive gets arrested", she said.

Meng, the chief financial officer of Huawei, was arrested Saturday while in transit at Vancouver's airport.

Huawei said on Wednesday that "the company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng". She faces multiple charges, each carrying a penalty of up to 30 years in prison upon conviction.

Canadian prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley said that the telecoms giant used a subsidiary, Hong Kong-based firm Skycom, to do business with Iran, bypassing U.S. sanctions. It's alleged that they did not know that they were in effect doing business with Iran and could have faced severe financial consequences, Gibb-Carsley said.

The news of Meng's arrest has roiled global stock markets on fears it could escalate a trade war between the USA and China after a truce was agreed last week between President Trump and China's leader Xi Jinping. A Canadian official authorized her arrest in November. The court heard she was en route from Hong Kong to Mexico.

Chinese media has blamed her arrest on USA efforts to stop its global expansion, while Huawei said it had "very little information" about the case but was "not aware of any wrongdoing".

For a period of time she was in charge of Huawei's successful internationalization efforts.

Asked this week about a possible Canadian ban on Huawei, Trudeau said he would defer to the advice of his intelligence agencies.

Meng's father, now 74, comes from rural roots, according to the Huawei website.

Meng, who takes her last name from her mother, received a master's degree from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhun, China, and started in a low-level position at Huawei in 1993 when she in her 20s.

Huawei, he explained, is one company the U.S. has been particularly concerned about.

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