Arrest of Huawei financial officer demonstrates U.S. willingness to impose its laws abroad - Politics | PoFo

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A Chinese citizen was arrested in Canada, and extradited to the U.S. because she used a computer to transact money on behalf of her company through a U.S. bank to another Chinese company, which was involved in selling communications equipment to Iran. The U.S. has imposed sanctions against Iran, and made it illegal to conduct business with foreign companies that do not follow U.S. international sanctions against other countries.

One really notable thing about this is that Canada, the country that arrested and extradited her, was very publicly opposed to these sanctions on Iran.

Her legal mistake may have been utilizing a U.S. bank to clear the transaction between the company in Canada and the other shell company in China that was used to make the sale to Iran, even though she didn't actually enter the U.S. to make that transaction. Of course the charges filed in the U.S. did not make it explicitly clear exactly what gives the U.S. jurisdiction in this case, besides accusing her of "defrauding" a U.S. bank by leading them to make a transaction which was illegal.

Huawei's Chief Financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada and extradited to the U.S. for her part in violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. She is a Chinese citizen.

It was reported on December 5 that Canada has arrested Huawei's global chief financial officer in Vancouver, where she is facing extradition to the U.S. The arrest is related to violations of US sanctions against Iran. Meng Wanzhou, who is one of the vice chairs on the Chinese technology company's board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested on December 1.​

Meng's arrest throws into question whether Chinese citizens and tourists are safe when they travel to countries allied to the U.S. Now it seems Chinese could be arrested anytime in those countries and extradited to the US to be charged for violation of U.S. laws.​ ... ition.html

The current U.S. sanctions stemmed from the belief that the conditions that were set out in the Iran Nuclear Deal are not stringent enough and that Iran is not acting in good conduct. The U.S. wants to put more pressure on Iran. Canada, Europe, and Australia oppose ending the deal and do not have these sanctions against Iran.

Suspicions against Huawei have existed for years and recently the Justice Department launched a probe into whether Huawei violated sanctions against Iran. Details of the probe remain vague. Another Chinese smartphone maker, ZTE, had already been fined $1.2 billion (by the U.S.) for selling goods to Iran and North Korea. ... -violation

This is a Chinese citizen arrested in Canada based on a law that did not exist in Canada but existed in the U.S.

It's common practice for large international companies like Huawei to use U.S. banks to handle routine business and clear transactions. With what happened to Meng Wanzhou, many foreign companies may have to rethink that practice.

The arrest of Huawei's Chief Financial Officer has led to diplomatic tension with China. China's international business community and government is outraged.

Let me try to explain this even simpler, in case anyone is having trouble following.

Meng is the Chief Financial Officer for the huge multinational company Huawei, which is based in China but also sells in Canada.
While in Canada, Meng wires money for her company to another company located in China. This other company in China is involved in selling communication equipment to Iran.
Meng has not broken any laws in China or Canada. Yet Canada arrests her to face charges in the U.S.

Do you see how this is not making much sense?

And making even less sense, the Canadian government does NOT support the law in the U.S. that she was arrested for.
On May 27, 2020, Canadian Judge Heather Holmes ruled that Meng Wanzhou's conduct could have been classified as a crime if it had occurred in Canada, even though Canada did not have sanctions on Iran at the time. This will pave the way for Wanzhou to be extradited to the US.
The judge's rationale is that Wanzhou's conduct still would have constituted "fraud" under Canadian law because, by making the transaction through the bank she tricked the bank into doing something something illegal (although what the bank did would not be illegal under Canadian law) and thus exposed the bank to legal and financial risk from the US government.

Obviously this is a very questionable interpretation of "fraud", and the judge seems to be stretching the law (Canadian law) to allow for the defendant to be extradited to the US.

"Huawei's Meng Wanzhou loses bid for freedom as Canadian judge decides US extradition case must continue", South China Morning Post, May 28, 2020 ... ge-decides

The way I see this, the bank could not have known that the company in China they were wiring money to was also involved in a sale to Iran that violated US sanctions. The banks can't possibly be expected to keep track of all the business dealings of other companies in other countries they wire money to. So by that logic, the bank should not have justly been exposed to legal risk, and thus it could not constitute "fraud" under Canadian law, which would then mean Meng should not be extradited from Canada.

It also turns out the bank Meng Wanzhou made the transaction through was HSBC, an international bank based in London (which also has operations in the US).
If that is the case, then, under this legal theory espoused by this judge, anyone who conducts any business with any international bank would have to make sure that the business would not constitute a violation of the law for the bank in any of all of the different countries the international bank is based in, otherwise it could constitute "fraud", and any other country could have the person extradited to the country where it was against the law.
I think this is a bullshit kangaroo court case, but on the question of banks and international jurisdictions, particularly the example of HSBC being a London bank; banks are regulated in the countries in which they operate. HSBC has a charter to operate in the US, which effectively makes their US operations distinct from their UK operations, etc. Such is my understanding, at least.
Crantag wrote:I think this is a bullshit kangaroo court case, but on the question of banks and international jurisdictions, particularly the example of HSBC being a London bank; banks are regulated in the countries in which they operate. HSBC has a charter to operate in the US, which effectively makes their US operations distinct from their UK operations, etc. Such is my understanding, at least.

Yes, that is an interesting point worth considering. However, I do not know if that is part of the prosecutor's argument, whether it even matters whether the transaction that Meng made through the bank was connected to the bank's operations in the US.

Judging by the extremely strained type of legal logic being used by the judge in the extradition hearing, I suspect it might not matter at all.

In that case, it really would be a crime that in no way was committed in the US or fell into US jurisdiction.

Seems countries are making their own laws international these days.
The US is increasingly using extraterritorial law against it's allies and foes alike. While refusing to acknowledge international law or the international court of justice, the US punishes other countries that don't abide by US law. The US is behaving exactly like a colonial power.
The US uses its intelligence services to spy on foreign companies and steal intellectual property, while the US justice system serves to wage economic war against foreign competitors of US companies.

The business saga and the legal cases unfolded in lockstep. Alstom boss Patrick Kron announced plans to sell the power business - 75% of the company - in mid-2014, when it was clear that the company was in the justice department's crosshairs.

Shareholders approved the sale to GE that December. Three days later, the settlement in the bribery case took Alstom's top brass off the hook.

Pierucci is among many in France who claim that the justice department was helping GE by keeping the pressure on Alstom until the sale was complete. According to a French parliamentary report published last year, the threat of a huge fine "undoubtedly... precipitated Mr Kron's decision".

Pierre Laporte, a former GE lawyer who now works as Pierucci's partner, notes that 70% of firms targeted for US anti-bribery action are foreign - notably European. The FCPA and other laws that apply beyond US borders, Laporte says, are "tools of economic domination".


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