Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. Don MacKinnon/AFP via Getty Images
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who is accused of fraud, may have violated COVID-19 guidelines while under house arrest, a Canadian court heard Tuesday.
According to the South China Morning Post, Meng booked out a restaurant for 14 people at Christmas, which prosecutors argued contravenes local coronavirus guidelines.
Under her house-arrest terms, Meng is allowed to leave home between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., provided she is accompanied by a security detail and wears a tracking anklet.
Meng has been asking for the terms of her house arrest to be relaxed so that she can go out without her security team, saying it poses a COVID-19 risk, according to multiple reports.
But lawyers pointed out that many aspects of her luxury lifestyle — including the Christmas meal —suggest she is not as concerned as she is saying.
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Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei CFO under house arrest in Vancouver over fraud charges, has been accused of violating local COVID-19 guidelines by booking out a restaurant for Christmas.
Meng – the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei – was arrested in Canada in December 2018 under suspicion of violating US trade sanctions. She was placed under house arrest later that month after being released from jail on a 10 million Canadian-dollar ($7.9 million) bail.
The US government has been arguing for her extradition in an ongoing case. As this develops, she is allowed under her bail terms to leave her home between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., wearing a tracking anklet and accompanied by a security team.
At a hearing at the British Columbia Supreme Court on Tuesday, Meng asked for a relaxation of her bail terms, arguing that her security team puts her at risk of COVID-19 exposure, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Meng has survived thyroid cancer and has hypertension.
Meng’s family also argued that the security guards attract unwanted attention and photography, CBC reported.
But her security team said she is already breaking COVID-19 guidelines, suggesting she is not as concerned about exposure as she claims, CBC reported.
A high-end house arrest
Meng wears a GPS anklet and high heels as she arrives at court in Vancouver, Canada, on January 20, 2020. Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images
Meng – known for pairing her tracking anklet with flamboyant high heels – has maintained a luxury lifestyle even while under house arrest.
Her husband Liu Xiazhong said under cross-examination that Meng hosted a 14-person dinner party on Christmas Day in a restaurant that had closed specially for them, the South China Morning Post reported.
Lawyer John Gibb-Carsley, representing the US government’s interests in the case, suggested this went against local guidelines, which limit gatherings to six people, according to the Post.
The court heard that Meng is also allowed to enjoy frequent shopping sprees in Vancouver boutiques, which close for her to shop privately, CBC reported.
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CBC also reported that she had lived with Liu as he quarantined on return from Hong Kong last fall – contrary to Canadian guidelines. Liu argued that Meng had not wanted him to quarantine at a hotel, the Vancouver Sun reported.
Meng’s Vancouver homes have a combined value of $20 million, and according to the Post, the house where she currently lives has a circular driveway, four bedrooms and six bathrooms.
The US extradition case has contributed to ongoing tensions between the US and China. China claims the case is politically motivated.
Chinese-Canadian relations have also been tested by the case. Following Meng’s arrest, China imprisoned two Canadians and sentenced another to death – a move that Canada’s ambassador to the US said was prompted by the case.
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