Canadian Judge Rejects Bid to Relax Bail Conditions for Huawei Executive

The judge found current bail conditions for Meng Wanzhou are already the “minimum” required to keep her from fleeing and rejected her claims she’s at increased risk of Covid-19 because of her security detail.

FILE – In this Sept. 24, 2019, file photo, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who is out on bail and remains under partial house arrest after she was detained at the behest of American authorities, wears an electronic monitoring bracelet on her ankle as she leaves her home to attend a court hearing in Vancouver. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (CN) — Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou will remain under strict bail conditions after a British Columbia Supreme Court justice rejected her bid to shed her security detail while not under a court-imposed curfew.

On Friday morning, Justice William Ehrcke read out his reasons for rejecting Meng’s application to vary her bail conditions, stating that she’s at no increased risk of Covid-19 while at her Vancouver home.

Unlike prison inmates, “in the case of Ms. Meng, she has the ability to self-isolate if she so chooses,” Ehrcke said.

“While at her residence, the current bail conditions do not pose any increased risk from Covid-19,” he continued. “While there will be times when she must leave her residence to attend court, I am satisfied that the current arrangement of being transported by Lions Gate personnel who are wearing masks does not pose an unacceptable health risk. Ms. Meng’s residence in Vancouver is not a great distance from the courthouse in Vancouver and the length of time she would be in the vehicle is limited. In my view, this is not a material change in circumstance sufficient to justify a change in Ms. Meng’s bail conditions.”

Meng, the daughter of billionaire Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, faces extradition from Canada to the United States on fraud charges. The U.S. Department of Justice has accused Meng of deceiving an HSBC executive regarding Huawei’s dealings in Iran involving a subsidiary which — if true — would be a violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

At a hearing this month, the court heard of Meng’s concerns that security personnel from Lions Gate Risk Management, the firm tasked with guarding and surveilling her 24 hours a day, put her and her family at increased risk of contracting the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. But the court learned Meng’s family had traveled to Canada to see her under a pandemic trael exemption in late 2020, and Meng also enjoyed private shopping excursions and a Christmas dinner at a restaurant that appeared to violate British Columbia’s Covid-19 health measures against large gatherings.

Ehrcke noted the bail conditions, including an electronic ankle bracelet and a constant security detail, were originally imposed in December 2018 and proposed by Meng’s own lawyers and that “the amount of the recognizance imposed by the court at that time was several million dollars less than what had been initially proposed by Ms. Meng’s counsel.”

“The current bail conditions were carefully crafted to mitigate the risk of flight by Ms. Meng. An integral component was the supervision and surveillance of Ms. Meng by Lions Gate personnel when she is away from her residence,” Ehrcke said. “I remain of the view that the current bail conditions are the minimum required to mitigate Ms. Meng’s risk of flight to an acceptable level. The application by Ms. Meng to amend her bail conditions is dismissed.”

Meng is due back in court on March 1.

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