A Chinese citizen was arrested in Canada, and extradited to the U.S. because she used a computer to transact money on behalf of her company through a U.S. bank to another Chinese company, which was involved in selling communications equipment to Iran. The U.S. has imposed sanctions against Iran, and made it illegal to conduct business with foreign companies that do not follow U.S. international sanctions against other countries.
One really notable thing about this is that Canada, the country that arrested and extradited her, was very publicly opposed to these sanctions on Iran.
Her legal mistake may have been utilizing a U.S. bank to clear the transaction between the company in Canada and the other shell company in China that was used to make the sale to Iran, even though she didn’t actually enter the U.S. to make that transaction. Of course the charges filed in the U.S. did not make it explicitly clear exactly what gives the U.S. jurisdiction in this case, besides accusing her of “defrauding” a U.S. bank by leading them to make a transaction which was illegal.
an excerpt from the NY Times:
Huawei’s Chief Financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada and extradited to the U.S. for her part in violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. She is a Chinese citizen.
It was reported on December 5 that Canada has arrested Huawei’s global chief financial officer in Vancouver, where she is facing extradition to the U.S. The arrest is related to violations of US sanctions against Iran. Meng Wanzhou, who is one of the vice chairs on the Chinese technology company’s board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested on December 1.
Meng’s arrest throws into question whether Chinese citizens and tourists are safe when they travel to countries allied to the U.S. Now it seems Chinese could be arrested anytime in those countries and extradited to the US to be charged for violation of U.S. laws.
The current U.S. sanctions stemmed from the belief that the conditions that were set out in the Iran Nuclear Deal are not stringent enough and that Iran is not acting in good conduct. The U.S. wants to put more pressure on Iran. Canada, Europe, and Australia oppose ending the deal and do not have these sanctions against Iran.
Suspicions against Huawei have existed for years and recently the Justice Department launched a probe into whether Huawei violated sanctions against Iran. Details of the probe remain vague. Another Chinese smartphone maker, ZTE, had already been fined $1.2 billion (by the U.S.) for selling goods to Iran and North Korea.
This is a Chinese citizen arrested in Canada based on a law that did not exist in Canada but existed in the U.S.
It’s common practice for large international companies like Huawei to use U.S. banks to handle routine business and clear transactions. With what happened to Meng Wanzhou, many foreign companies may have to rethink that practice.
The arrest of Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer has led to diplomatic tension with China. China’s international business community and government is outraged.
Let me try to explain this even simpler, in case anyone is having trouble following.
Meng is the Chief Financial Officer for the huge multinational company Huawei, which is based in China but also sells in Canada.
While in Canada, Meng wires money for her company to another company located in China. This other company in China is involved in selling communication equipment to Iran.
Meng has not broken any laws in China or Canada. Yet Canada arrests her to face charges in the U.S.
Do you see how this is not making much sense?
And making even less sense, the Canadian government does NOT support the law in the U.S. that she was arrested for.