Arrest of Huawei financial officer demonstrates U.S. willingness to impose its laws abroad

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.

Welcome to the forum. Is this a year old article? Is she still being held in Canada or has she already been extradited?

Why is this so hard to understand. The US has a treaty with Oh Canada whereby individuals may be extradited on an arrest warrant from the US.

Meng was released on $10 million bail, with the stipulation that she has to wear an electronic ankle monitor and remain in Canada.
Her latest court extradition hearing is scheduled to begin January 20, 2020 and is likely to stretch on for several months. (The court hearing process is very slow)

I think this clears up why she was arrested & extradited since she committed a crime by defrauding a US bank to commit a US crime. What’s your problem with it?

She didn’t really “defraud” the US bank. No money was stolen from them.

The twisted legal reasoning the prosecutor appears to be using is that US law makes it illegal for a financial institution (like a bank) to do business with any foreign company that has done business with any other foreign country in violation of US sanctions on that third country.

Thus when Meng used the online automatic service of the US bank to clear a transaction between her Chinese company and the other Chinese company (despite the fact she wasn’t even in the US), she caused that US bank to break the law, without their knowledge, thus “defrauding” them.

Maybe the word “defraud” tripped you up since it has more meaning then stealing $$$. It also means tricked, decieved, fooled etc. etc. including “double cross” which maybe is what the US Bank did to her, if they were cahoots and got caught they may have pointed the finger at her. In any case US laws were broken so again I ask “what’s your problem”?

So now we are saying it’s illegal to trick or fool a bank into doing something even though nothing was stolen, and nothing was trying to be stolen?

This was otherwise a completely routine automatic transaction, and no evidence has been presented that Meng was aware of the US law or was intentionally trying to trick the bank.

She could just have easily used a bank from some other country, and it would have resulted in the same thing.

The prosecutor is using words from the law, stretching their meaning to try to make them mean something they were not necessarily obviously intended to mean.

There are no fewer than five existing threads on this from almost a year ago.

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Well I apologize for that but maybe I wanted to discuss a different aspect to this story, one that has to do with concerning legal precedents these sort of decisions set.

Could you imagine if, for example, some other country like China started holding Americans responsible for their laws (and China has some crazy laws), even though those Americans were not in the country when they allegedly broke those laws?

I get what you’re saying but the laws that were put into place by the federal representatives that we elected were designed to counter international money laundering. That’s effectively what this CEO did. She’s a foreign national and I really don’t care what happens to her. She can rot in jail until the end of time awaiting trial.

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If she had used a Chinese or Canadian bank and done the exact same thing, then you would not have a problem with what she did, isn’t that right?
There are all sorts of Chinese companies selling stuff to Iran.

I believe you using the term “money laundering” completely mischaracterizes what she did.
This is a type of transaction that is regarded as completely legal by the Chinese government, and why the government of China was outraged over her arrest and the US seeking her extradition.

She was moving money from one Chinese company to another Chinese company, with the consent of both of them, and legal approval from the Chinese government. Yet you are characterizing that as “money laundering”.

The money was not originally derived from illegal dealings, unless you consider that US prohibitions against selling communication equipment to Iran applies to the whole world. That is one of the major issues here.

At that point, what she did would have been irrelevant to American interests.

The Canadians are already bought and paid for by the Chinese. This would have just been one more problem added to the many problems that they already have to deal with up there with the Chinese. We don’t need that fiasco bleeding over the border into the US. We have our own issues to deal with.


Her intent was to conceal where the money originated from and how it was supposed to get to it’s destination.

That’s money laundering.

Since you keep editing your post. I will do the same.

How the Chinese view a banking transaction is irrelevant to how we view a banking transaction here in the United States.

We can essentially tell China to go kick rocks and they can’t do anything about it - primarily because they are truly a backwards third rate country…and because sovereignty is still a thing.

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The issue is she didn’t do anything inherently wrong, even though it could be construed that her actions were in violation of US law.
That law seems to be pointless though because what if she had just used a bank from another country? That law would not have prevented her from accomplishing the same ends that the law was intended to try to prevent.

She wasn’t in the US, wasn’t a US citizen, and no money was stolen.
The US bank didn’t suffer financial harm, and there is not even any particular evidence that she knew the money transfer was in violation of US law.

US banks don’t exist for foreign nationals to use them however they so choose.

Also the law isn’t for her to decide if she violated it or not. She, or her attorneys representing her, will have their day in court and the jury can decide.

That’s a much better deal than she would get in China for being a criminal (which she is).

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These types of laws and prosecutions are just going to alienate foreign consumers and business people from using and conducting their business with US banks.

I’m no fan of the banks but if this pisses off the Chinese, then fry this bitch.


Considering you are bringing up a topic that is over a year old…it hasn’t impacted the markets yet. The only economy in this equation that is suffering right now is China’s.

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Being able to “have their day in court” is not justification enough to extradite someone to another country, a country they might never have even visited before.

Would you be okay being extradited to China, Russia, or North Korea so long as you could “have your day in court” ?