VANCOUVER, British Columbia – A judge in Vancouver has granted bail to Huawei Chief Executive Meng Wanzhou, despite concerns she poses a flight risk. Chinese-Canadian relations have taken a downward turn after Canada arrested the senior executive.
A Canadian judge has released Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on bail following days of uncertainty in the courtroom.
In a 55-page affidavit, Meng made clear to the court that she does not intend to flee the country and will stand trial, if need be, in the United States, where she is wanted for breaking sanctions against Iran.
“Given her unique profile as the face of a Chinese corporate national champion, if she were to flee or breach her order in any way in these very unique circumstances, it does not overstate to say she would embarrass China itself,” David Martin, Meng’s lawyer, told the court on Monday.
Meng said she feared her health may deteriorate if she remained in prison pending appeals against the US extradition request.
Her arrest at the request of US authorities has sent Chinese-Canadian relations into a downward spiral. US prosecutors have accused Meng of using a subsidiary to sell to Iran in what allegedly amounted to breaching sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.
Meng’s release comes hours after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that former diplomat Michael Kovrig had been arrested in Beijing amid growing tensions between both countries.
“We are engaged on the file, which we take very seriously, and we are providing consular assistance to the family,” said Trudeau.
Kovrig’s current employer, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group think tank, said it is “doing everything possible to secure additional information on Michael’s whereabouts as well as his prompt and safe release.”
The arrest of Kovrig, who previously held senior positions at Canada’s embassy in Beijing and its consulate in Hong Kong, comes as the Canadian government deals with the blowback from Meng’s arrest.
The motive behind Kovrig’s arrest, and whether it is connected to Meng’s detention in Canada, remains unclear.
But Guy Saint-Jacques, a former Canadian ambassador to China, told broadcaster CBC he had no doubt Kovrig was detained in relation to Meng’s arrest.
“In China there is no coincidence,” he said. “Unfortunately Canada is caught in the middle of this dispute between the US and China.
Because China cannot kick the US they turn to the next target.”
“It’s called repression and retaliation,” former Canadian Liberal Party leader Bob Rae wrote on Twitter.