Huawei executive arrested in Canada for 'violating US sanctions on Iran'

Adjust Comment Print

Meng is the daughter of Huawei's founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, and also serves as deputy chair on Huawei's board.

The Canadian Justice Department arrested Wanzhou Meng in Vancouver on Saturday and U.S. officials want Canada to extradite her, agency representative Ian McLeod said in an email sent to Business Insider.

Officials for the Canadian and U.S. Justice Departments did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

US authorities have suspected Huawei's alleged involvement in Iranian sanctions violations since at least 2016, when the USA investigated ZTE Corp., Huawei's smaller Chinese rival, over similar violations. "The ban was sought by Ms. Meng", McLeod said.

Justice Department spokesman Ian McLeod says in an email that Wanzhou Meng was arrested Saturday.

A Huawei statement said Meng, who also has gone by the English names Cathy and Sabrina, was detained when she was transferring flights in Canada.

USA media have reported that the U.S. is investigating Huawei for potential violations of United States sanctions against Iran.

Huawei released a statement saying its CFO was arrested while changing planes in Vancouver and is facing charges in "the Eastern District of NY".

The statement added the embassy was closely following developments in the case and would "take all measures to resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens".

"As there is a publication ban in effect, we can not provide any further detail at this time", department spokesperson Ian McLeod said in a statement to the newspaper.

David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said USA and Canadian business executives could face reprisals in China.

The arrest comes as the United States has brought a number of legal cases against Chinese technology firms, with accusations such as cyber-security theft and violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

This November, New Zealand's government banned its major telecommunications company Spark from using Huawei's equipment, which is described to "have a serious national security risk". American prosecutors are seeking to have her moved to the United States as it investigates whether the company broke trade sanctions against Iran.

News of the probe broke in April 2018 when it was reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Although Huawei sought to distance itself from Skycom, investigative journalists found close connections between the two companies.