The US President has left open the possibility he would get involved in the Justice Department's case against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou if he felt it was in the national interest.

By Daniel Herborn

Posted on December 12, 2018

Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on 1 December on charges relating to misleading financial institutions about transactions with Iran. These transactions may have violated US sanctions with the rogue state.

China sought her immediate release and demanded further detail on why she was being detained as the arrest threatened to spill over into a major diplomatic incident. On 11 December local time, Meng was released on bail.

Trump: “I would certainly intervene”

Speaking to reporters on 11 December local time, Trump said he may personally intervene in the politically charged case in the interest of national security or to help wrap up a trade deal with China.

“Whatever’s good for this country, I would do,” Trump said.

“If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made…I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary.”

Under the conditions of her bail, Meng had to pay US$7.5 million (Canadian $10 million). She must also wear an electronic ankle tag and will be under constant surveillance. US authorities reserve the right to extradite her to the US to face fraud charges at a later date.

Her next court appearance was set for 6 February 2019.

Huawei, which is China’s largest private company and surpassed Apple as the world’s second-largest maker of smartphones earlier this year, released a statement saying it looked forward to a “timely resolution” of the case.

“We have every confidence that the Canadian and US legal systems will reach a just conclusion,” the statement continued. It added that Huawei complies with all relevant laws and regulations in every jurisdiction where it operates.

Trump said he had spoken with the Justice Department about the case but had not yet made contact with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Fallout from Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s arrest

In another development apparently stemming from Meng’s arrest, Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian Diplomat was arrested in Beijing. Canadian officials had been fearing a retaliatory strike after arresting Meng.

Mr Kovrig, who now works for the International Crisis Group, was arrested on 10 December.

Both US and Asian futures tumbled in the wake of Meng’s arrest, with investors fearing an escalation of the trade war between US and China.

The souring of relations between the US and China over Meng’s arrest came on the same day the two parties temporarily agreed to a truce in their ongoing trade war.

US authorities have long had suspsicions about Huawei’s dealings with Irans and investigations into it potentially breaching export and sanctions laws date back to 2016.

Header image credit: Michael Vadon