European Union should worry about Huawei, other Chinese firms, says official

A shopper walks past a Huawei store at a shopping mall in Beijing Wednesday

A shopper walks past a Huawei store at a shopping mall in Beijing Wednesday

It wasn't until Wednesday that the world learned that Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, had been detained on Saturday in Canada at the behest of United States authorities.

The United States government is alleging the chief financial officer of China's Huawei Technologies committed fraud in 2013, when she misled American financial institutions about her company's links to a Hong Kong firm doing business in Iran, opening the banks to risk of violating USA sanctions.

He also outlined the Byzantine structure and what he called a constantly changing nature of USA sanctions against Iran.

John Gibb-Carsley said Meng is alleged to have said Huawei and Skycom were separate companies in a meeting with an unnamed financial institution, misleading an executive with that institution and putting it at risk. He said her actions exposed the banks to potential fines for violating USA 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.

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Meng's lawyer, David Martin, argued that it would be unfair to deny her bail just because she "has worked hard and has extraordinary resources".

Some have noted that US tech executives would be wise to avoid traveling to China over the next two weeks, out of concern that they might get caught up in the tug of war over Huawei. Huawei is the world's biggest producer of telecoms equipment, operating in more than 170 countries and regions.

Huawei has said "the company has been provided with little information regarding the charges and it's not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng". Canadian President Justin Trudeau has said the country's courts acted independently and there was no political involvement in the case.

China on Thursday demanded Canada release Meng Wanzhou. The lawyer also proposed that Meng could be electronically monitored to ensure she does not take flight.

The Japanese newspaper said that the changes to procurement rules could come as soon as Monday and noted that the decision followed a similar move from the United States, as well as Washington's urging that its allies follow suit.

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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.

Regardless of what violations might have occurred, it makes sense to go after Meng, CUNY'S Ming said. Meng pledged C$1 million for bail.

The White House did not specify why she was detained but mentioned longstanding United States concerns over Chinese firms using stolen intellectual property and how Beijing acquires information technology.

USA and Asian stock markets tumbled after news of Meng's arrest as it was seen to cause another flare-up in tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Huawei staff briefed on an internal memo told Reuters on Friday the company had appointed Chairman Liang Hua as acting CFO following Meng's arrest.

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In mid-August, US President Donald Trump enacted legislation banning government agencies from using services from Huawei and ZTE, along with other Chinese companies.

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