Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou Granted Bail, Needs to Be Under 24/7 Surveillance

December 11, 2018 Updated: January 8, 2019

VANCOUVER, Canada—Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou has been granted bail after her three-day bail hearing concluded on Dec. 11 in a Vancouver court. 

In his decision, the judge said that Meng is a “well-educated businesswoman with no criminal records.” He said he is satisfied that Meng has only two valid passports, and that she will surrender all her other ones.

After the judge’s decision, with tears in her eyes, Meng hugged her lawyer and also turned around to smile at her husband sitting in the front row of the audience.

Some of Meng’s bail conditions include:

  • A C$7 million ($5 million) cash deposit from Meng.
  • There must be five or more sureties, including security firm Lions Gate Risk Management Group (LG) CEO Scot Filer—who Meng would fund to provide surveillance and security to ensure Meng doesn’t flee. Filer also needs to pledge C$1000 ($747) as part of the bail. The deposit of these five or more sureties combined should amount to C$3 million ($2.2 million).
  • Meng will have to wear a GPS bracelet, be monitored by 24/7 by LG, report to a bail supervisor weekly, and pay all costs associated with her monitoring program.
  • Meng will be allowed to travel within a specified boundary in Vancouver, but excluding areas around the Vancouver airport.
  • Meng must reside at her West 28th Avenue home in Vancouver, with a curfew between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The judge said that said Meng must return to court on Feb. 6, 2019.

Sureties

The hearing couldn’t conclude on Dec. 10 over questions on whether Meng’s husband Liu Xiaozong could be her surety.

A surety is someone who supervises an accused person while they are out on bail. They also pledge bail money. Through Meng’s lawyer, Liu, who is in Canada on a visitor visa, has said he is willing to remain in Canada with Meng, as well as pledge both his houses and a cash deposit. However, the judge said on Dec. 10 that he still has questions about whether a non-resident of the province can be a surety for bail.

In this courtroom sketch, Meng Wanzhou, back right, the CFO of Huawei Technologies, listens during a bail hearing at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, on Tuesday Dec. 11, 2018. Her husband Liu Xiaozong is seen seated at front left.
In this courtroom sketch, Meng Wanzhou, back right, the CFO of Huawei Technologies, listens during a bail hearing at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, on Tuesday Dec. 11, 2018. Her husband Liu Xiaozong is seen seated at front left. (The Canadian Press/Jane Wolsak)

Meng’s lawyer David Martin argued that there is a precedent to accept a non-resident of the province to act as surety if there are multiple sureties. The others who Martin introduced to act as sureties are:

  1. A realtor who helped Meng and her husband buy their two homes in Vancouver and who Martin says helps manage their property. Martin says he will pledge his own home, valued at C$1.8 million ($1.3 million).
  2. Lee Lin and Ken Louie, who have known Meng since the 1990s and worked with Meng at Huawei. They agree to pledge a half million dollars net equity of their home, which currently has a mortgage.
  3. Lee Shi, also a Canadian citizen. Her husband worked at Huawei and knew Meng. Li pledges C$960,000 ($718,000) of equity from her home in Vancouver, which also has a mortgage.
  4. Meng’s close neighbour, who has been a Canadian citizen since 2003. She knew Meng from Shenzhen, China 23 years ago and knows Meng’s parents, as they live in one of Meng’s Vancouver homes for four to six months every year. The neighbor has pledged C$50,000 ($37,000) from her retirement savings.

Martin said there are a number of options for Liu to legally extend his visa and what Liu will have to prove, either when re-entering Canada or applying for a visa extension, is that he has a legitimate reason to stay in Canada.

Meng, dressed in green prison sweats, had a smile on her face and appeared relaxed at the start of today’s hearing. As the hearing progressed, Meng sat straight and listened silently to her interpreter.

Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei, attends an event in Moscow on Oct. 2, 2014. (Reuters/Alexander Bibik)
Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei, attends an event in Moscow on Oct. 2, 2014. (Reuters/Alexander Bibik)

Attorney General Lawyers Make Case For Denying Bail

The lawyer representing the attorney general of Canada, John Gibb-Carsley, opposes Meng’s release and said that Liu should be excluded from acting as surety.

He argued that Liu would not be able to properly take on the role of Meng’s supervisor as their “interests are too aligned.” He said if Meng chose to flee, Liu would likely go with her, and that any loss that Liu would suffer would be compensated by Meng, as “his assets are her assets.”

In this courtroom sketch, John Gibb-Carsley, a lawyer for Canada's attorney general, addresses a bail hearing for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, on Dec. 10, 2018.
In this courtroom sketch, John Gibb-Carsley, a lawyer for Canada’s attorney general, addresses a bail hearing for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, on Dec. 10, 2018. (The Canadian Press/Jane Wolsak)

Gibb-Carsley also said that whether Liu is able to stay in Canada or not is up to immigration and border officials, and his visa extension request could be rejected.

Extradition

Meng was arrested in Canada on behalf of U.S. authorities and faces extradition to the United States. She is charged with conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions, with each of the offenses she is charged with carrying a maximum prison sentence of 30 years. Meng denies the charges.

The logo of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. seen outside its headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China on April 17, 2012. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

U.S. authorities allege that Meng lied to U.S. banks about Huawei’s relationship with Hong Kong-based telecom company Skycom, which reportedly attempted to do business with Iran. This caused banks to unknowingly breach U.S. sanctions when they cleared transactions for Huawei.

The judge has said that, based on his own experience as well as past cases, an extradition hearing could take months to complete.

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