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Huawei CFO freed on bail ahead of extradition

It may be seen as an important gesture in light of China-US tensions.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
December 11, 2018
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Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

Tensions remain high over the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou for alleged Iran sanction violations, but Canada just offered a tiny olive branch. A British Columbia Supreme Court justice has granted Meng bail after her attorney and family made a case for her conditional release. She's paying $10 million CAD ($7 million of it in cash) and must stay in the province, report to a supervisor, agree to around-the-clock surveillance, pay for security, live in a Vancouver area house owned by her husband (Liu Xiaozong) and remain home between 11PM and 6AM.

Liu also promised both $1 million in cash as well as the $14 million value of two Vancouver homes.

Crown prosecutors had warned that Meng could be a flight risk due primarily to her wealth and her main residence in China, which doesn't have extradition treaties with either Canada or the US. They were also worried Liu would simply flee with his wife. Meng's lawyer, however, had pointed to not just her family, but the political implications of fleeing -- the Huawei exec would embarrass all of China if she cut and run, the attorney said.

This won't assuage China's demands that Meng be released for good, or stop it from accusing Canada and the US for detaining the CFO for political reasons. It might also take months before the extradition process wraps up. However, this could be interpreted as a kind (if small) gesture at a critical moment.

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