A Chinese tech executive facing U.S. charges related to alleged sanctions violations was granted bail by a Canadian court Tuesday, amid pressure for her release from Beijing and just hours after a former Canadian diplomat was detained in China.
Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of China's Huawei technologies, will await her extradition hearing from the comfort of one of her two multimillion-dollar Vancouver homes, watched over by a private security firm, an electronic tracker and several Vancouver residents who put up real estate or cash to vouch for her.
Meng, 46, was arrested Dec. 1 at Vancouver's airport - the same day President Donald Trump met Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a summit in Argentina.
Though the timing appears to be a coincidence - the warrant for her arrest was dated Aug. 22 - China sees the case as a bid to secure leverage in the ongoing U.S.-China trade war and has threatened "severe consequences" if she is not released.
Just hours before the Vancouver hearing, news broke that Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat and an analyst for International Crisis Group, was detained in China. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that he was aware of the case and Canada has been in touch with Chinese diplomats.
It was unclear Tuesday whether his case was related to China's threats. But his detention is likely to complicate an already complex standoff between Beijing, Washington and Ottawa.
Since February 2017, Kovrig has been working for the International Crisis Group, covering security issues across Northeast Asia. He speaks regularly to the media about his research, including to The Washington Post.
"International Crisis Group is aware of reports that its North East Asia Senior Adviser, Michael Kovrig, has been detained in China," the think tank said in a statement.
"We are doing everything possible to secure additional information on Michael's whereabouts as well as his prompt and safe release," it added.
His former employer Global Affairs Canada confirmed his detention but declined to comment further, citing privacy rules.
Since Meng was taken into custody, the United States has said little about the arrest.
When pressed by the media, Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland, Canada's foreign minister, have stressed that Meng's arrest was a legal, not political, move.
Huawei, which was founded by Meng's father, Ren Zhengfei, is China's largest privately held company and the world's largest supplier of telecommunications gear.
Though the company has global reach, its expansion has long been thwarted by U.S. concerns that it is too close to the Chinese government and could constitute a threat to national security.
Huawei and China deny these assertions and counter that U.S. security claims are an effort to hurt its business. China's party-controlled press has compared Meng's arrest to a hostage-taking and a kidnapping.
On Friday, before a packed courtroom in Vancouver, prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley argued that Meng committed fraud in 2013 by telling financial institutions that China's Huawei had no connection to a Hong Kong-based company, Skycom, which was reportedly selling U.S. goods to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions.
Meng's lawyer said she will deny the charge.
In an affidavit released Sunday, Meng made her case for release.
"My father founded Huawei and I would never do anything that would cause the company reputational damage," she said. "I wish to remain in Vancouver to contest my extradition, and I will contest the allegations at trial in the U.S. if I am ultimately surrendered."
Over two more days of deliberation, Meng's team argued that she should be granted bail on grounds that she is in poor health and has close ties to Vancouver, where she owns two homes and often visits.
Her lawyer initially said that her husband, a Chinese national who spends time in Vancouver, could serve as her guarantor - a suggestion the judge and prosecutors did not appear to like.
On Tuesday, her team suggested four other Vancouver residents willing to vouch for her, including her Vancouver realtor, an insurance agent who once worked with her at Huawei, a woman whose husband once worked at Huawei and a neighbor.
All agreed to put up their homes, or cash, as collateral should she flee.
The conditions of her bail stipulate that she must reside at her Vancouver residence, obey a curfew and travel only within a designated part of the city.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)