Wed, Dec 12, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Judge debates apt bail for Huawei executive

Bloomberg and Reuters, SHANGHAI AND BEIJING

A courtroom sketch by Jane Wolsak and released to Agence France-Presse by the artist shows Huawei Technologies Co chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou speaking with her lawyer, David Martin, in a courtroom in Vancouver, Canada, on Monday.

Photo: AFP

A Canadian judge on Monday said he was not satisfied with a bail proposal from the lawyers for jailed Huawei Technologies Co (華為) chief financial officer (CFO) Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟), who faces a US extradition request.

British Columbia (BC) Supreme Court Justice William Ehrcke voiced doubts that Meng’s husband, Liu Xiaozong (劉曉棕), could act as her “surety” — that is, a type of guarantor or “community jailer” who would be responsible for ensuring she meets bail terms and who would lose a proposed C$15 million (US$11.2 million) in cash and properties if she were to violate conditions.

The judge adjourned the case until yesterday, saying he would not give a decision until both sides better addressed “the necessity and/or strong desirability of a surety being a resident of the province.”

At issue is the fact that Liu does not have the legal immigration status to reside in Canada — he arrived in Vancouver last week on a multiple-entry visitor visa that expires in February — meaning there is no guarantee he would be physically present for an extradition proceeding that could potentially last years.

“Someone here on a visitor’s visa is not a resident of B.C. It’s as simple as that, isn’t it?” the judge asked Meng’s lawyer, David Martin.

On the other hand, the judge also said it is impossible to completely eliminate flight risk — as demanded by the prosecution — and that doing so should not be a condition of her bail.

The defense had two witnesses from private security companies testify how Meng could be tracked minute-to-minute by a GPS-equipped anklet and how her home could be put under 24-hour surveillance.

Crown attorney John Gibb-Carsley argued that neither company could completely eliminate the risk of escape.

The judge said such a guarantee “would be impossible and there would be no point in setting up such a statutory scheme” for bail if that were a requirement.

The defense proposed to pledge bail of C$15 million, but Gibb-Carsley said that Meng is so wealthy she would easily be able to pay whatever is required and then flee.

Meng was arrested on Dec. 1 during a stopover in Vancouver on her way to Mexico.

She is accused of guiding a global effort by the Chinese telecom equipment giant to mask violations of sanctions on sales to Iran.

Meng’s lawyers have argued that their client has no criminal record, cited high-profile character witnesses to vouch for her, and said she has substantive ties that ensure she would remain in Vancouver.

They have also cited health issues, including daily medication, to argue for her release from a Vancouver-area detention center.

Meng’s only two valid passports — from China and Hong Kong — have already been confiscated, preventing her from boarding any commercial flights. The only place she could flee to by land is the US, the very country that seeks her extradition, they said.

Separately, former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig has been detained in China, two sources said yesterday, and his current employer, the International Crisis Group, said it was seeking his prompt release.

It was not immediately clear if his detention was related to the arrest of Meng, which has stoked fears of reprisals against the foreign business community in China.

“International Crisis Group is aware of reports that its North East Asia Senior Adviser, Michael Kovrig, has been detained in China,” the think tank said in a statement.

This story has been viewed 14861 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top