Huawei Executive Granted Bail by Canadian Court
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Meng Wanzhou, a top executive of the Chinese technology company Huawei, was granted bail of 10 million Canadian dollars, or about $7.5 million, while awaiting extradition to the United States from Canada, a judge ruled on Tuesday.
The decision came on the third day of a bail hearing for Ms. Meng, who is also a daughter of the Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, in a case that has complicated the relationship between China and the United States.
“I am satisfied that on the particular facts of this case, including the fact that Ms. Meng is a well-educated businesswoman who has no criminal record and of whom several people have attested to her good character, the risk of her non-attendance in court can be reduced to an acceptable level,” Justice William Ehrcke said in his ruling.
Ms. Meng and her husband will be responsible for a 7 million dollar cash deposit for bail, with the remaining 3 million dollars coming from her acquaintances. She will be released upon completion of court paperwork.
Ms. Meng will be subject to 24-hour physical and electronic surveillance, which she plans to pay for herself. The surveillance will include two security guards and a driver, in addition to GPS monitoring. She will also be under curfew between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., the judge said.
Ms. Meng, who has been in detention for 10 nights, hugged her lawyers and shook their hands as she cried. Her next court date will be on Feb. 6.
“I am in Vancouver and back with my family,” she wrote on WeChat, the Chinese social media platform. “I am proud of Huawei and I am proud of my motherland! Thanks to everyone who cared about me.”
In a statement, Huawei said, “We look forward to a timely resolution to this matter.”
Ms. Meng, 46, was arrested at Vancouver International Airport on Dec. 1 at the behest of American authorities, sending shock waves throughout China and the United States, which are negotiating to end a trade war. The United States has claimed she deceived financial institutions and caused them to violate sanctions against Iran.
Ms. Meng in particular is being scrutinized for her role in a Hong Kong company called Skycom Tech, which does business in Iran and at one point had Ms. Meng on its board. Huawei also owned shares in the company.
Ms. Meng’s lawyers said that she resigned from Skycom’s board in 2009 and that Huawei divested its stake in the company. But Canadian and American authorities have said Huawei operated Skycom as an unofficial subsidiary, allowing Skycom employees to use Huawei bank accounts and email addresses. Huawei convinced financial institutions that Skycom was independently operated, and the banks then cleared transactions with Skycom that violated United States sanctions against Iran, according to an affidavit.
The American government’s case against Ms. Meng appears to center on a 2013 presentation she made to the global bank HSBC, in which she claimed that Huawei had sold its Skycom shares and was no longer directly supervising the company. That presentation constituted fraud, a lawyer from Canada’s attorney general’s office has argued.
The United States has 60 days from Ms. Meng’s arrest on Dec. 1 to file a formal extradition request with Canadian authorities. Canada grants around 90 percent of extradition requests that are heard in court, owing to 1999 changes to its extradition laws. If an extradition request is granted, Ms. Meng will have several options to appeal, and the process could take many months.
In an interview with Reuters, Mr. Trump said he would consider intervening in her case. “Whatever’s good for this country, I would do,” he said.
Authorities in the United States and Canada had argued Ms. Meng should be held without bail, given her vast financial resources and the fact that China does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.
David Martin, a lawyer for Ms. Meng, initially said that she would offer 1 million dollars in cash and two homes that her husband, Liu Xiaozong, owns in Vancouver, worth about 14 million dollars, to secure her bail.
But the bail decision was complicated by the immigration status of Ms. Meng’s husband. Mr. Liu arrived in Canada from China after his wife’s arrest and can stay for six months on a visitor’s visa. A Canadian government lawyer argued that Mr. Liu could not be responsible for Ms. Meng’s bail because he may have to leave the country before her case is resolved.
Mr. Martin said on Tuesday that four family friends and neighbors who are Canadian residents had offered their homes and cash to cover Ms. Meng’s bail, an arrangement that may have eased concerns about Mr. Liu’s immigration status. Some of those who volunteered to help with Ms. Meng’s bail are former Huawei employees.