Having adjourned for lunch, the Huawei CFO bail hearing continues to raise eyebrows (among onlookers and the judge).
This morning’s biggest headline is that Meng Wanzhou’s husband promised to post bail equal to C$15 million (around $11 million), made up of cash and the equity value in the couple’s homes in Vancouver, in order to gain her release from jail in Canada while she contests possible extradition to the U.S..
As we noted earlier, the value of these homes and cash as bail payment is peanuts compared with her father’s estimated wealth of $2 billion (Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei).
In an almost comic exchange, as Bloomberg reports, Meng’s husband, Liu Xiaozong, would post the bail and ensure she complies with the terms of her confinement imposed by the court, David Martin, Meng’s defense lawyer, told Justice William Ehrcke of the British Columbia Supreme Court, reassuring that
“She is a woman of character and dignity,” Martin told the court.
“She would comply with your order.”
Of course she would…
To which the judge asked Martin, somewhat shocked at the suggestion, how Liu could possibly serve as his wife’s “jailer,” particularly if the judge couldn’t order Liu to remain in the country.
Martin said he wasn’t aware of Liu’s immigration status in Canada.
Crown attorney John Gibb-Carsley has argued against granting Meng bail because she’s so wealthy that she will easily be able to pay whatever is required and then flee. Since learning of the investigation into her alleged activities, Meng has avoided the U.S. and other Huawei executives have stopped traveling to the U.S., he added.
Additionally, Martin told the court that Meng would pay for her own security operations “as an added layer of assurance,” producing an expert witness who testified that Meng’s whereabouts could be confirmed through the use of technology:
“I’m very confident what we will have in place will satisfy the court.”
Of course, one can hardly blame her for running should she be granted bail, but, as Bloomberg concludes, the hearing in Vancouver is the start of a long legal process in Canada that could end with Meng being sent to the U.S. to stand trial. Even though the North American neighbors have a longstanding treaty governing extradition, it can take months, even years, for a defendant to be handed over, if at all. And further still, should a judge agree to extradite Meng, she would have multiple chances to appeal the decision.
Additionally, speaking on a Toronto Panel this afternoon, Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland reassured that the arrest of Huawei’s CFO “was not in any way political” and confirmed that it was “absolutely essential” to follow the law.