By Julie Gordon
VANCOUVER (Reuters) – A Canadian provincial court in Vancouver on Monday weighed whether to grant bail in an extradition case to a top executive of China’s Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] following her arrest at the request of the United States.
Lawyers for Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou made their case for her freedom, arguing that a slew of high-tech surveillance devices could ensure she does not flee.
Meng faces U.S. accusations of misleading multinational banks about Huawei’s control of a company operating in Iran, putting the banks at risk of violating U.S. sanctions and incurring severe penalties, court documents said.
Huawei is one of the world’s biggest telecommunications hardware companies, building everything from networks to handsets, and is seen as one of China’s best chances to change the global technology landscape. Meng’s arrest has roiled global markets and reignited tensions between the United States and China, which has demanded her immediate release and threatened “consequences” for Canada.
Meng’s lawyers proposed that she should be allowed to live in one of her two multi-million-dollar Vancouver, British Columbia homes and travel through the area as long as she is accompanied at all times by drivers and minders from a security firm. She would also wear a GPS bracelet at all times, her lawyers said.
Meng, the 46-year-old daughter of the founder of Huawei, was arrested as part of a U.S. investigation on Dec. 1 as she was changing planes in Vancouver.
U.S. officials allege Huawei was trying to use the banks to move money out of Iran. Huawei and its lawyers have said the company operates in strict compliance with applicable laws, regulations and sanctions of the United States and other parties.
Prosecutors have argued against giving Meng bail while she awaits extradition.
Meng appeared confident in court, smiling and taking her lawyer’s arm. She had previously argued she should be released on bail due to severe hypertension and fears for her health. In a sworn affidavit, Meng said she is innocent of the allegations and will contest them at trial in the United States if she is surrendered there.
(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Writing by Anna Mehler Paperny and Nick Zieminski; Editing by Bill Rigby and Muralikumar Anantharaman)