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White House, Trudeau seek to distance themselves from Huawei exec's arrest

17 Comments
By Roberta Rampton and David Ljunggren

U.S. President Donald Trump did not know about plans to arrest a top executive at Chinese telecoms giant Huawei in Canada, two U.S. officials said on Thursday, in an apparent attempt to stop the incident from impeding crucial trade talks with Beijing.

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, the 46-year-old daughter of the company's founder, was detained in Canada on Dec 1, the same day Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping dined together at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

A White House official told Reuters Trump did not know about a U.S. request for her extradition from Canada before he met Xi and agreed to a 90-day truce in the brewing trade war.

Meng's arrest during a stopover in Vancouver, announced by the Canadian authorities on Wednesday, pummeled stock markets already nervous about tensions between the world's two largest economies on fears the move could derail the planned trade talks.

The arrest was made at Washington's request as part of a U.S. investigation of an alleged scheme to use the global banking system to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran, according to people familiar with the probe.

Another U.S. official told Reuters that while it was a Justice Department matter and not orchestrated in advance by the White House, the case could send a message that Washington is serious about what it sees as Beijing's violations of international trade norms.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that the arrest could complicate efforts to reach a broader U.S.-China trade deal but would not necessarily damage the process.

Meng's detention also raised concerns about potential retaliation from Beijing in Canada, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought to distance himself from the arrest.

"The appropriate authorities took the decisions in this case without any political involvement or interference ... we were advised by them with a few days' notice that this was in the works," Trudeau told reporters in Montreal in televised remarks.

IRAN SANCTIONS

The United States has been looking since at least 2016 into whether Huawei violated U.S. sanctions against Iran, Reuters reported in April. More recently, the probe has included the company's use of HSBC Holdings Plc to make illegal transactions involving Iran, people familiar with the investigation said.

In 2012, HSBC paid $1.92 billion and entered a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn for violating U.S. sanctions and money-laundering laws.

An HSBC spokesperson declined to comment on Thursday. HSBC is not under investigation, according to a person familiar with the matter.

After news of the arrest, Huawei said it has been provided little information of the charges against Meng, adding that it was "not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng."

Huawei is under intense scrutiny from Washington and other governments over its ties to the Chinese government, driven by concerns it could be used for spying. It has been locked out of U.S. and some other markets for telecom gear, but has repeatedly insisted Beijing has no influence over it.

On Friday, a person with direct knowledge and a person briefed on the matter told Reuters that Japan plans to ban government purchases of equipment from China's Huawei and ZTE Corp .

The Yomiuri newspaper, which first reported the news, said the Japanese government was expected to revise its internal rules on procurement as early as Monday to prevent intelligence leaks and cyber attacks.

ZTE pleaded guilty in 2017 to violating U.S. laws that restrict the sale of American-made technology to Iran in efforts to curb Tehran's missile and nuclear programs.

Before the arrest on Wednesday, Britain's BT Group said it was removing Huawei's equipment from the core of its existing 3G and 4G mobile operations and would not use the Chinese company in central parts of the next network.

Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Ben Sasse welcomed news of the arrest and said the world's biggest telecoms equipment maker posed a security threat.

Cruz tweeted: "Huawei is a Communist Party spy agency thinly veiled as a telecom company."

Huawei has said it complies with all applicable export control and sanctions laws and other regulations.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2018.

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

17 Comments
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This is funny.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It is actually true though, Huawei phones do spy on everything that you do, they are heavily pushing their PR in Japan too. You can see their products everywhere now in Yodobashi and Bic Camera.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

This has the stench of John Bolton and the other far-right wing nuts in this administration...

Trump building his "wag the dog" moment as Mueller finishes up his investigation?

Trouble ahead....

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

If i cannot drive my own motorcycle through the place there is something very 20th idiology

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

There's a certain irony to China's response:

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson told reporters: "The detention without giving any reason violates a person's human rights."

But this looks like it has Bolton's grubby fingerprints all over it, for sure.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It is actually true though, Huawei phones do spy on everything that you do "

So Huawei is kinda like Facebook or Google in that sense then...:)

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Let's get this straight: Trump creates an environment in which only dubious companies from dubious countries can trade with Iran and then pleads ignorance when his policies are enforced in a way which harms his agenda.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Let's get this straight: Trump creates an environment in which only dubious companies from dubious countries can trade with Iran and then pleads ignorance when his policies are enforced in a way which harms his agenda.

I personally think that he was deliberately made unaware due to the fear he would attempt to stop the arrest in the interests of these ongoing trade negotiations.

I can easily imagine Bolton and Trudeau having a little chat.

And yet Canada has not banned Huawei. Only a matter of time if they want to stay in the 5 eyes security arrangement I imagine.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

It is actually true though, Huawei phones do spy on everything that you do, they are heavily pushing their PR in Japan too. You can see their products everywhere now in Yodobashi and Bic Camera.

I do remember there many Japanese spies caught in China even today, Japan just couldn't get rid of their spy culture.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

How disingenious of the two.Only fools,(but there are a lot) would believe they had no knowledge of the impending arrest.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Isn't China currently holding 2 innocent America born kids (now Adults) whose Chinese Father has been accused of fraudulently stealing money and absconding from China ? Apparently they're using his Kids to encourage him to return.

So.... perhaps the US is trying to do the same in order to get their release ?

Just a thought.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Excuse me, but who is Trump kidding ???.He knows issues when he wants and not know issues , when he do not want ???. America , are U all ,sure, that U do not have a doctor Jaykl & mr Hide president ???. In Japan, we call this actions.................tatemae. Anyone can only take actions on such level with commands from the top esp in the states of America.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

No country wants, well democratic countries want any influence from China, all you have to do to is ask Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Uzbek people, sorry can't ask them as they have no service due to the rules in their " holiday camp". Also watch your electric car it's monitoring you too. Press the wrong button and "Hello" holiday camp.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It is actually true though, Huawei phones do spy on everything that you do, they are heavily pushing their PR in Japan too. You can see their products everywhere now in Yodobashi and Bic Camera.

Didn't US announced that server board (Supermicro) made in China has factory installed spy chip right there on the motherboard a moth back or so? That rumors had been around for a while about China putting spyware right in the manufacturing process, but it was never proven until then. They only found in Supermicro's MB, I am not surprised if there are more. Such as router......

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Only fools,(but there are a lot) would believe they had no knowledge of the impending arrest.

Excuse me, but who is Trump kidding ???.He knows issues when he wants and not know issues , when he do not want ???

You guys really think the President or the Prime Minister know every single person that their justice departments plan on arresting? This wasn't Osama bin Laden, it was a tech company's CFO. Arresting a person probably isn't high on the list of things to brief the leaders on in the morning.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

You guys really think the President or the Prime Minister know every single person that their justice departments plan on arresting?

You really think an arrest of a person of this magnitude wasn't brought to Trump's attention?

We are expected to believe the WH had no idea this was going to go down despite Trump kicking Iran in the teeth and poking at China?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

reign them in ....just remind them of history

shooting sparrows or communes

just to be many ... are you fit for some new... past selling things

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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