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Canada court frees China’s Huawei CFO on bail

In this courtroom sketch, Meng Wanzhou (L) is drawn speaking with lawyer David Martin in a courtroom in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on December 10, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

A court in Canada has granted bail to a senior executive of China-based Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, 10 days after she was detained in Vancouver on a US arrest warrant, triggering a major diplomatic row.

In a Tuesday court hearing in the western province of British Columbia, Justice William Ehrcke ordered the release from jail of Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Meng Wanzhou on a bail of 10 million Canadian dollars (7.5 million US dollars), prompting a loud applause in the courtroom as the decision was announced.

Meng also wept and hugged her lawyers after the reading of the ruling.

As part of the conditions for her bail, the 46-year-old Meng — who was arrested on December 1 at a Vancouver airport — must wear an ankle monitor and remain at her residence from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. The bail was provided by five of her friends who offered equity in their homes as well as other funds as guarantee that she will not flee.

“I am satisfied that on the particular facts of this case... the risk of her non-attendance in court can be reduced to an acceptable level by imposing bail conditions,” said the judge, adding that he was also persuaded by the fact that Meng was a well-educated businesswoman with no criminal record.

She must stay in Canada and be accompanied by security officers when she leaves her residence. The judge also ordered Meng to reappear in court on February 6 to make plans for further appearances.

A home reported to be owned by Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou is seen, in Vancouver, Canada, on December 10, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Huawei’s CFO and the daughter of its founder faces US allegations that her company bypassed Washington’s anti-Iran sanctions.

Canada’s justice minister to decide on Meng’s extradition

According to local press reports, Canada’s justice minister will next have to decide on Meng’s extradition to the US if a court judge rules the case against her is strong enough.

In case she is turned over to US authorities, Huawei’s CFO would reportedly face charges of conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions, with a maximum 30-year jail term for each charge.

China has threatened consequences unless Canada releases Meng immediately. On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned against the “bullying” of Chinese citizens.

Trump vows to use Meng’s case for China trade deal

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said in a Tuesday interview with Reuters that he would intervene in his Justice Department’s case against Meng if it would serve American national security interests or help get a favorable trade deal with China.

In another twist in the case, Canada says Chinese authorities have detained a former Canadian diplomat.

China has not confirmed that assertion.

US, Canada may issue travel warnings

Meanwhile, the US State Department is reportedly considering issuing a travel warning for its citizens residing or traveling to China.

Unconfirmed reports by Canadian news outlets said that Ottawa, too, was considering issuing a similar warning.

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