Breaking: Huawei’s ‘Red Princess’ Meng Wanzhou Wins Release on Bail

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) is shown around the offices of Chinese tech firm Huawei technologies by its President Ren Zhengfei
MATTHEW LLOYD/AFP/Getty Images
JOHN CARNEY

Huawei finance chief Meng Wanzhou’s plea to be released on bail was approved by a Canadian court Tuesday.

Justice William Ehrcke of the British Columbia Supreme Court said the Chinese executive could be released after posting millions of dollars in bail and agreeing to a stringent monitoring program proposed by her lawyers.

Observers in the courtroom burst into applause after the decision was announced.

Meng has been held by Canadian authorities since her December 1st arrest in Vancouver. American authorities are seeking to have her extradited to the U.S. to face charges of deceiving banks in order to skirt Iran sanctions.

The bail hearing stretched into three days, an unusually lengthy process.  It began on Friday, six days after Meng’s arrest. Canadian prosecutors said at the start of the hearing that Huawei used a Hong Kong company, Skycom Tech, to do business in Iran in violation of American sanctions. When banks in the United States inquired about Skycom, Meng allegedly provided false information that led banks to believe Huawei did not control Skycom. As a result, the banks cleared financial transactions for Huawei that were allegedly actually Skycom transactions.  One unnamed bank cleared more than $100 million in transactions related to Skycom, according to documents presented to the court.

Canadian prosecutors argued that Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei (pictured above with Chinese dictator Xi Jingping), was a flight risk because of her wealth, her deep connections to China, and the possibility she could be sentenced to decades of imprisonment in the U.S. Her lawyers denied she was at risk of fleeing, claiming that doing so would humiliate China. They proposed an elaborate system of physical and electronic surveillance to monitor her compliance with the terms of her bail.

Under the terms of her bail, Meng would be followed by a private security team and required to wear an electronic ankle monitor. She would not be permitted to travel outside of approved areas. The Canadian judge pointed out on Tuesday that she would be barred from traveling to Vancouver’s airport.

In addition to millions of dollars Meng’s pledge of own assets and a $7 million cash payment, five guarantors pledged millions of dollars in collateral to assure to she stays in Canada.

Meng’s arrest has become a flashpoint for tension between China and both Canada and the U.S. China has demanded that Canada release Meng. The editor of it’s state-controlled Global Times has said her arrest is tantamount to a “declaration of war.”

She has been described as a ‘Red Princess’ due to the alleged strong connection between her grandfather and the officials of the Communist party, according to the Daily Mail.

 

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