Still No Bail Decision for ‘Princess’ Meng Wanzhou

The Associated Press

A hearing for Meng Wanzhou concluded its second day with no decision Monday about whether the Huawei finance chief would be released on bail while awaiting a decision on whether she will be extradited from Canada to the U.S.

Meng’s lawyers argued she would not be a flight risk because it would be against her self-interest to flee Canada.

“Given her unique profile as the face of a Chinese corporate national champion, if she were to flee or breach your order in any way in these very unique circumstances, my lord, it does not overstate to say she would embarrass China itself,” Canadian lawyer David Martin told the judge.

Prosecutors have argued that Meng could be a flight risk if released on bail because of her wealth, her family’s influence in China, and her lack of a firm connection to Canada. Meng owns two homes in Vancouver but is a full-time resident of China. She is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei. Inside the company, she was reportedly referred to as “the Princess” by employees.

Meng’s lawyers mounted a many-pronged argument to attempt to convince the judge to release their client. Lawyers claimed the 46-year-old executive suffers from numerous health issues, including hypertension and difficulty eating solid food, a side-effect from surgery to correct sleep apnea. They said she had survived thyroid cancer.

The lawyers said she is willing to put up a cash payment and her two Vancouver homes, worth a total of $15 million, as collateral. They also brought in executives from two security firms that Meng has offered to pay for herself to monitor her both physically and electronically.
“My father founded Huawei and I would never do anything that would cause the company reputational damage,” Meng said in an affidavit. “I believe breaching my bail conditions would cause such damage.”

China has been pushing for Meng’s release. Over the weekend, it threatened Canada for “severe consequences” if Meng is not freed.

Meng was arrested at the Vancouver airport on December 1 while changing planes on a trip from Hong Kong to Mexico. American authorities claim Meng misled banks about the relationship of Huawei and a company called Skycom, which they say Huawei secretly controlled. As a result, the banks engaged in transactions that allegedly violated United States sanctions against Iran, the court was told on Friday. U.S. prosecutors are seeking to have Meng extradited to the U.S. to stand trial on fraud charges, according to Canadian officials.

The hearing concluded with no decision from the judge. It is expected to resume Tuesday.

 

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