Canada Grants Bail to Huwaei’s Meng Wanzhou in an Unforeseen Move

Canada — which was prepared for possible retaliation from Beijing, but was certain about the arrest of Huawei’s CFO — has turned back on its decision just after 10 days. On Tuesday, a Canadian court granted bail to Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Vancouver on December 1.

Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of its founder, was arrested at the instructions of American authorities in Vancouver, a move that stoked a diplomatic dispute.

The United States claims that she had violated American sanctions on Iran. It stated that the 46-year-old executive put the multinational banks at risk of violating US sanctions, by misleading them about Iran-linked transactions.

However, on Tuesday, the third day of bail hearings in Vancouver, Meng was granted C$10 million ($7.5 million) bail by Justice William Ehrcke on certain conditions.

As per the conditions, Wanzhou must remain in Canada. Her family assured that she would remain at one of her family houses in Vancouver. Her husband also said that he plans to bring their daughter to attend a school in the city.

Besides, the Huawei executive will have to wear an ankle monitor. She will also have to stay at home from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., and accompanied by security guards when she leaves her residence.

The judge said, “I am satisfied that on the particular facts of this case… the risk of her non-attendance in court can be reduced to an acceptable level by imposing bail conditions.” He also added that he was also convinced by the fact that Meng Wanzhou is a well-educated businesswoman with no criminal record.

Five guarantors pledged equity in their homes and other money as an assurance that Wanzhou will not abscond. They are liable for a C$3 million if she flees, whereas the rest C$7 million will be paid by Meng Wanzhou as a cash deposit.

Although she has been granted a bail, chances are high that the tables will turn against her. If the case against Wanzhou is proved strong enough by a Canadian judge, the Justice Minister must next decide whether to extradite her to the US. In that case, Wanzhou is likely to face US charges of conspiracy, with a maximum sentence of 30 years for each charge.

On the other hand, Wanzhou’s aid that she is innocent and will contest the US allegations if she is extradited.

The arrest of Meng Wanzhou has dented Chinese relations with Canada and the US. Analysts have asserted that retaliation was likely from Beijing, which has warned of severe consequences unless Canada released Wanzhou immediately.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said her arrest “was a mistake from the start.”

He said, “We have already made clear our position to the United States and Canada, who should immediately correct their mistake and release Meng Wanzhou.”

“Any person, especially if it is a leader of the United States, or a high-level figure, who is willing to make positive efforts to push this situation toward the correct direction, then that, of course, deserves to be well received,”Lu Kang said.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump stated on Tuesday that he would intervene in the case against Wanzhou by the Justice Department, if it would help close a trade deal with China or serve national security interests.

Besides, sources have said that the US State Department is also considering to issue a travel warning for its citizens. Reports have revealed that the Canadian government was considering to issue a similar warning.

The concerns of both the western governments seem logical, as on Tuesday China already detained Canadian citizens—former Canadian diplomat and employee at International Crisis Group (ICG), Michael Kovrig.

On Wednesday, the ICG think-tank informed that it had received no information from the Chinese officials regarding the detention, and that it was seeking consular access to Kovrig.

Saying that he had no details of the case, Lu Kang stated that the ICG was not registered in China as a non-governmental organization and Kovrig could have broken Chinese law.

While the Canadian government said that it saw no unambiguous link to the Huawei case, Guy Saint-Jacques, Canada’s former ambassador to China, said, “In China there are no coincidences… If they want to send you a message they will send you a message.”

At present, the arrest of Meng Wanzhou is chained with several other critical diplomatic issues between the three countries. Though bail has been granted, she is still under strict surveillance. The court has ordered her to reappear on February 6, 2019. It is yet to be revealed what impact the case will have on the Chinese ties with Canada and the United States.

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