Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer was arrested as part of a US investigation of an alleged scheme to use the global banking system to evade Washington’s sanctions against Iran, Reuters reports, citing people familiar with the probe.
The United States has been looking since at least 2016 into whether Huawei violated US sanctions against Iran. More recently, the probe has included the company’s use of HSBC Holdings to make illegal transactions involving Iran, sources were quoted as saying.
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, daughter of the company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada and faces extradition to the United States.
HSBC is not under investigation, according to the report.
In 2012, the banking giant paid US$1.92 billion and entered a deferred prosecution agreement with the US Attorney’s office in Brooklyn for violating US sanctions and money-laundering laws.
Stock markets around the world tumbled on Thursday on fears actions against Huawei could derail talks to resolve the trade dispute between China and the US.
Huawei is already under intense scrutiny from Washington and other western governments over its ties to the Chinese government, driven by concerns it could be used by Beijing for spying.
The company has repeatedly insisted Beijing has no influence over it.
After news of its CFO’s arrest, Huawei said it has been provided little information of the charges against Meng.
“The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng,” Huawei said in a statement.
Meng, one of the vice chairs on the company’s board, was arrested on Dec. 1 at the request of US authorities, and a court hearing has been set for Friday, Canada’s Justice Department said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday said his government had no involvement in the arrest of Meng, who was detained while changing planes at Vancouver airport.
Trudeau told reporters that Ottawa had been given a few days’ advance notice about the planned arrest, but declined to give further details, Reuters said.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman told a daily briefing in Beijing on Thursday that China had asked Canada and the US for an explanation of Meng’s arrest, but they have “not provided any clarification.”
On Wednesday, China’s embassy in Canada said it resolutely opposed the arrest and called for Meng’s immediate release.
– Contact us at [email protected]