America plans to try Hawaoui's financial director on charges of circumventing Iran's sanctions
A court in Vancouver heard on Friday allegations that US prosecutors wanted the trial of the financial director of China's giant technology giant Huawei to be held in Canada for fraud charges related to circumventing Iran's sanctions.
Meng Wan Chu, 46, the company's chief financial officer and the daughter of its founder, was arrested by Canadian police on December 1 at the request of the United States. Sources familiar with the investigation told Reuters that her detention, which was announced by Canadian authorities on Wednesday night, came as part of a US probe into allegations of planning to use the global banking system to circumvent US sanctions on Iran.
The court heard arguments that Meng was facing charges of conspiring to defraud several financial institutions with a maximum sentence of 30 years for each charge.
Meng arrived at the High Court of the British Columbia, while dozens of photographers clashed outside the building. She was trading with two lawyers through an interpreter.
The Canadian Justice Department declined to give details on the case. A judge on Friday lifted an order banning publication that Meng had obtained and restricted the ability of the media to cover evidence or documents presented in court.
The arrest of the Chinese executive led to turmoil in global equity markets, fearing that this would escalate the Sino-US trade war after a truce agreed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump in Argentina on Saturday.
Two US officials said Trump was not aware of the news in advance.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Jing Xuang said Canada and the United States had not provided any evidence of Meng's violation of any laws in the two countries and renewed China's request for her release.
Huawei confirmed Meng was arrested and said on Wednesday that "the company has very little information on the charges and has no knowledge of any violation committed by Ms. Meng."
A company spokesman declined to comment on Thursday and said the statement on Wednesday was still in force.
Huawei employees, familiar with an internal memo, said the company appointed Liang Hua, chairman of the board of directors, as acting chief financial officer following Meng.