Canadian court refuses to relax bail terms for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou

Meng Wanzhou leaves court, with her security detail in Vancouver, Canada, on Jan 29, 2021 PHOTO: AFP

VANCOUVER (AFP) - A Canadian judge on Friday (Jan 29) rejected Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou's request to relax her bail conditions as she fights against extradition to the US on fraud and conspiracy charges.

British Columbia Supreme Court Justice William Ehrcke ruled that the Chinese businesswoman must remain under constant supervision by court-ordered security guards - imposed after her arrest two years ago.

"The conditions imposed in my original bail order are the minimum necessary to ensure Ms Meng will attend court as and when required and will not flee the jurisdiction," Ehrcke said.

"These conditions are necessary... in light of the fact that Ms Meng is neither a resident nor citizen of Canada, has significant resources at her disposal, and is facing serious charges that could ultimately result in her incarceration in the US if she is convicted."

Meng's arrest on a US warrant during a Vancouver stopover in December 2018 - and Beijing's subsequent detention of two Canadians - caused a major diplomatic rift between Canada and China.

She faces fraud and conspiracy charges in the United States related to alleged violations of US sanctions against Iran by Huawei and a covert subsidiary, Skycom.

The entrepreneur - whose father is Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei - denies hiding the company's relationship with Skycom in Iran from HSBC bank.

Meng's lawyers had asked the court to cancel a requirement that she be accompanied by private guards in daytime, when she's not under curfew and house arrest.

She must still wear a GPS monitoring anklet at all times and remain at home at night.

Meng's husband Liu Xiaozong had testified that the constant presence of security guards on outings put her at increased risk of catching the coronavirus.

Lawyers for Canada's attorney-general opposed modifying her bail conditions.

Meng's extradition trial is scheduled to resume in March and wrap up at the end of May.

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