U.S. wants Huawei executive 'to face charges over Iran sanctions'

Sergei Lavrov and Meng Wanzhou

Sergei Lavrov and Meng Wanzhou

If extradited, Meng would face charges of conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions, the court heard, with a maximum sentence of 30 years for each charge.

The prosecutor said at the bail hearing for Meng Wanzhou that she has vast resources and would be motivated to flee Canada and return home to China.

China has called for Meng to be released and world markets are watching closely due to fears that the case could escalate the trade war between the United States and China.

Canadian prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley said that the telecoms giant used a subsidiary, Hong Kong-based firm Skycom, to do business with Iran, bypassing USA sanctions.

Huawei is the most prestigious tech company in China and was founded by Meng's father, Ren Zhengfei.

Meng was arrested in Vancouver on December 1 while transferring planes on a trip from Hong Kong to Mexico at the request of USA authorities seeking her extradition.

Washington and Beijing have exchanged steep tariffs on more than $300 billion in total two-way trade, locking them in a conflict that has begun to eat into profits.

Huawei Finance Chief Meng Wanzhou has been arrested in Canada at the request of the United States.

Meng arrived in the packed Supreme Court of British Columbia as dozens of photographers jostled outside the building.

CNN, quoting an unnamed official, said the United States saw the arrest as providing leverage in US-China trade talks - although White House trade advisor Peter Navarro has denied any link to the dialogue.

The crown compared Meng's case to that of Su Bin, a Chinese businessman accused of stealing US military secrets who was denied bail in a BC court in 2014, presenting the case as a precedent to also deny bail to Meng.

"The Chinese government should seriously mull over the U.S. tendency to abuse legal procedures to suppress China's high-tech enterprises", said the nationalist tabloid Global Times in an editorial.

Since Saturday, the telecom executive has been detained at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women, a facility 50km outside Vancouver's downtown core.

Meng's lawyer, David Martin, disputed the prosecutor's call to deny bail, saying, "The fact a person has worked hard and has extraordinary resources can not be a factor that would exclude them from bail". All security costs would be borne by her.

"What's getting lost in the initial frenzy here is that Huawei has been in the crosshairs of US regulators for some time", said Gregory Jaeger, special counsel at the Stroock law firm and a former Justice Department trial attorney.

The Canadian Extradition Act requires that in order for a person to be extradited, the individual must be facing charges for an offence deemed criminal in both Canada and the country seeking the extradition request.

Canada is not providing further details about the case because of a court-ordered publication ban.

As China pressures Canada to release her, the detention has also created domestic political fissures with opposition parties expressing frustration over a lack of information from the federal government.

"I can assure everyone that we are a country (with) an independent judiciary", Trudeau told a tech conference in Montreal. They also argued that Iranian sanctions are complex and SkyCom's civilian telecommunications equipment sales likely weren't in violation of any rules.

Huawei's affordable smartphones have made strong inroads in the developing world, but the company has faced repeated setbacks in major Western economies over security concerns.

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

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