Canadian authorities have arrested Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer for possible violations of US trade sanctions related to sales of HP equipment to Iran a decade ago.
Wanzhou Meng, Huawei's global chief financial officer and a deputy chair of Huawei's board of director, is also the daughter of Ren Zhengfei, Huawei's founder.
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice Canada confirmed the arrest of Meng via email to CRN USA and said that there was a “publication ban” imposed by Meng, forcing the agency to withhold more information on the arrest.
"Wanzhou Meng was arrested in Vancouver on 1 December. She is sought for extradition by the United States, and a bail hearing has been set for Friday. As there is a publication ban in effect, we cannot provide any further detail at this time. The ban was sought by Ms. Meng," the spokesperson wrote.
The US has been investigating the alleged shipment of U.S.-made products to Iran in violation of US laws since 2016. That probe became public in April, according to the Globe and Mail newspaper, which first reported the arrest on Wednesday.
Meng was arrested while transferring between flights, according to a statement provided to CRN USA by Huawei.
Huawei, in that statement, also said the company complies with all applicable US and Canadian laws.
"Recently, our corporate CFO, Ms. Meng Wanzhou, was provisionally detained by the Canadian Authorities on behalf of the United States of America, which seeks the extradition of Ms. Meng Wanzhou to face unspecified charges in the Eastern District of New York, when she was transferring flights in Canada.
"The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng. The company believes the Canadian and US legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion.
"Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US and EU," Huawei wrote in the statement.
The arrest by Canadian authorities of Meng stems from an allegation that another company which she managed violated a US ban against selling technology to Iran.
News of Meng's arrest comes in the wake of reports in April 2018 that US prosecutors based in New York were investigating the possible violation of US sanctions against selling US-origin products to Iran.
Reuters in 2013 reported that Meng was linked to Skycom Tech, a Kong Kong-based company which in late 2010 offered to sell HP equipment worth at least $1.3 million euros to Iran-based Mobile Telecommunication Co. A proposal for the sale of the HP equipment to Iran contained at least 13 pages marked "Huawei confidential" and included the Huawei logo, Reuters said.
Huawei later said the HP equipment was ultimately not provided to Iran either by Huawei or Skycom, Reuters said.
Further investigation by Reuters found financial and other links over a decade between Huawei, Meng, and Skycom. For example, a management company that was controlled by Huawei's parent company in 2007 held all of Skycom's shares, and Meng at the time was that management firm's company secretary, Reuters reported.
Skycom at the time was a major partner of Huawei.
Meng in that Reuter's story was also referred to by her English name, Cathy Meng. However, on Huawei's corporate website, she is also referred to a Sabrina Meng.
David Harris contributed to this story.