US asks Canada to turn over Huawei’s CFO on alleged sanctions violations

The United States government said Tuesday that it is seeking the extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou from Canada. In addition to being the chief financial officer of Huawei, Meng is also the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei.

Meng was arrested last month on charges that the Chinese telecom giant and affiliated companies have been doing business in Iran in violation of US sanctions laws—and that Meng had been directly involved in covering up Huawei’s Iran dealings.

Meng sits on the board of a Huawei partner company called Skycom Tech that US and Canadian authorities have accused of doing business with Iran. “In late 2010, Skycom’s office in Tehran offered to sell at least 1.3 million euros worth of HP gear” to a major Iranian telecommunications provider, Reuters reported in 2013.

Canadian authorities now say that “Meng may have personally been involved in tricking financial institutions into making transactions that violated United States sanctions against Iran,” the reports.

Canada’s decision to arrest Meng set off a diplomatic feud between Canada and China. In the weeks after Meng’s arrest, China arrested two Canadian nationals on charges related to national security. The Chinese government insisted that these arrests were not in retaliation for Meng’s arrest, but few people believe that.

The Trump administration has been beefing up enforcement of sanctions laws against Chinese telecommunications companies, causing growing friction with the Chinese government. Last year, the Trump administration briefly banned American companies from exporting technology to smartphone giant ZTE after ZTE was caught violating US sanctions and then lying about its efforts to correct the problem. Such an export ban would have been a de facto death sentence for the Chinese firm, but the US later reversed course and lifted the ban after Trump tweeted that it would cost too many Chinese jobs.

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