Huawei CFO arrested in Canada

(Image credit: Huawei)

China has demanded the release of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou after she was arrested in Canada.

The company's finance chief, and daughter of Huawei co-founder Ren Zhengfei, was taken in by police in Vancouver on December 1 whilst transferring flights in the city's airport.

Details of the exact charges she faces have not been revealed, leading to Huawei and the Chinese government demanding her release, but stoking fears of a growing trade war between the US and China.

However Some reports have suggested the arrest is connected to Huawei bypassing sanctions placed by the US on Iran.

Huawei's technology is being viewed with growing suspicion by many Western governments, which fear the company's hardware is being used for illegal surveillance by China.

This includes the UK, where earlier this week BT revealed that it would be stripping Huawei hardware from its 4G network, although it could still play a part in the next-generation 5G launch.

Huawei CFO arrest

The Canadian ministry of justice confirmed Meng had been arrested, noting that, "She is sought for extradition by the United States, and a bail hearing has been set for Friday."

The arrest was praised in the US, where Senator Ben Sasse told the Associated Press that China was aggressively engaged in undermining US national security interests, often "using private sector entities".

"Americans are grateful that our Canadian partners have arrested the chief financial officer," he added.

In a statement, Huawei said it was "not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms Meng", but noted that it complied with "all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US and EU."

"The company believes the Canadian and US legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion."

However the Chinese embassy in Ottawa took a much more critical tone, claiming that Ms Meng had "not violating any American or Canadian law".

It added that "the Chinese side has lodged stern representations with the US and Canadian side, and urged them to immediately correct the wrongdoing and restore the personal freedom of Ms Meng Wanzhou."

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.