Court hears details of how Huawei CFO would be monitored on bail
Published Monday, December 10, 2018 1:03PM PST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 11, 2018 2:53PM PST
Dec. 11 update: Judge makes decision on Meng Wanzhou's bail
A Vancouver courtroom heard how a chief financial officer would be monitored if released as a bail hearing with international implications continued Monday.
The CFO of Huawei, a multinational Chinese telecommunications company, remains in custody more than a week after she was arrested at the Vancouver International Airport.
Meng Wanzhou is facing allegations of fraud for using a shell company to violate the U.S.-European Union trade sanctions against Iran.
On Monday morning her legal team presented its case for bail, trying to paint a picture of a comprehensive security plan with near-constant monitoring. During the proceedings, Meng sat in a green jumpsuit and appeared to be listening attentively.
Detailed release plan presented
The plan was fronted by Scot Filer, a former RCMP staff sergeant who is now with Lions Gate Risk Management.
It includes a dedicated driver and security team, to be paid for by Meng herself. Meng would be allowed to live somewhat normally if released on bail, but would be monitored by GPS. She would be permitted to travel within a "security zone" that spans from Richmond to the North Shore.
The Crown asked if Lions Gate could guarantee Meng wouldn't flee the country, to which Filer responded, "There is never a total guarantee."
He added that the company provides protective services, but has never actually monitored someone on bail before.
Also asked to provide testimony was Stephen Tan from Recovery Science, a private company that provides monitoring equipment including devices used to track those out on bail. The defence suggested the companies together would be responsible for monitoring Meng if she was released.
Tan said to his knowledge, none of the people being monitored by his company have ever fled and not been recaptured. He also said his equipment has never been hacked.
"It's not difficult assuming you have the parties' co-operation, then simply if they want to go out to the grocery store, you simply accompany them," security expert Leo Knight told CTV News.
"It becomes much more difficult if they want to lose you."
Knight estimated the security measures combined would cost Meng about $1,000 a day.
Last week, a federal prosecutor told the hearing the CFO is wanted in the U.S. over the allegations, none of which have been proven in court.
- Read the court documents in the Meng Wanzhou case
Extradition and appeals lawyer Gary Botting said the U.S. hasn't formally charged her, nor have American officials requested extradition.
"The application is not in place yet, it's just a question of holding her provisionally until they get their ducks in order," he said.
U.S. officials want her held in jail, while she wants to live in the community. No decision was made Monday. The hearing is expected to resume Tuesday.
Setting bail: Is Meng a flight risk?
Entry visas from around the world show Meng has travelled extensively, making stops in countries including Myanmar, India and Mali.
Court documents also show the U.S. attorney's office believes over 11 years she's been issued seven passports, though her lawyer says she currently only holds two.
The mother of four has at least two known aliases, Sabrina and Cathy Meng.
John Gibb-Carsley said Meng has incentive to leave Canada if let out on bail, and her father's net worth is $3.2 billion.
He also alleged there is evidence that Meng has intentionally avoided travel to the U.S. since she became aware of the criminal investigation. On Monday, he said the Crown has concerns about the technology that would be used to monitor the CFO, and that the security companies are unable to provide a guarantee she would not skip town.
Her lawyer, David Martin, argued his client would obey conditions of her bail as she's a prominent figure, and a breach of a court order would "humiliate and embarrass her father, who she loves."
"She is a woman of character and dignity and she has deep respect for the rule of law," he said Monday.
"It is inconceivable for her to throw away her life's work by not complying with all of the court orders."
He said she has strong ties to Canada – she was once a permanent resident of Vancouver, and her children attended school in the city.
The company, which was founded by Meng's father, has said it is not aware of any wrongdoing, and her lawyer said no charges have been filed against his client, just an arrest warrant.
Martin said Meng would be willing to surrender her two valid passports, and two properties in Vancouver worth a total of $14 million could be put up for bail. He's suggested her bail be set at $1 million, as well as the value of her homes. Her husband and Filer would serve as surety – a role that is essentially the guardian of a person out on bail – and Filer said his company would make a citizen's arrest in event of a breach.
Justice William Ehrcke questioned whether Meng's husband could be used as a surety, as he is not a resident of Canada and appears to have a visitor visa that expires in February. Should Meng's case move to an extradition hearing, it could take months or years before a decision comes down.
The judge told Martin it would be frustrating if he made a decision to approve her release on bail and the defence was unable to find a suitable surety.
The Crown suggested more money as an assurance, recommending bail be set at $7.5 million cash and $7.5 million in property. Gibbs-Carsley also argued Meng's husband would not be an appropriate surety, and suggested Meng should be on 24/7 house arrest, rather than be able to travel within a zoned area.
Break-in at Meng's Vancouver home
Vancouver police were called to one of the two properties owned by Meng and her husband on Sunday following an early morning break in.
Officers arrived at the home, located on West 28th Avenue near Crown Street in Vancouver's Dunbar neighbourhood, shortly before 5:30 a.m. They said the suspect or suspects had already fled the area, after being confronted by someone who was inside the house at the time.
No one was injured and no arrests have been made. Police are still working to identify possible suspects.
China threated Canada over the weekend with "grave consequences" if Meng is not released.
A report by Xinhua News Agency said the Canadian ambassador was summoned by China's vice-foreign minister Saturday. The Chinese official said Meng's detention was "unreasonable, unconscionable, and vile in nature," the agency reported.
The minister told Ambassador John McCallum that her detention was a violation of her rights, and that China strongly urges her release "or face grave consequences that the Canadian side should be held accountable for."
Asked Monday what the consequences might be, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman would only say "it totally depends on the Canadian side itself."
Fears have been expressed that China could detain Canadians in retaliation for Meng's detention, The Associated Press reported. Beijing has also been known to conduct commercial retaliation against firms based in countries at odds with China.
And already, there have been international implications as a result. The China leg of a provincial forestry trade trip through Asia was cancelled over the weekend.
After making stops in South Korea and Japan, the delegation was supposed to head to China to promote B.C. wood products. Now, those government officials will come home while other businesses travel on to China.
Minister Doug Donaldson said the trip will be rescheduled.
With reports from CTV Vancouver's Sheila Scott, Breanna Karstens-Smith, Shannon Paterson and St. John Alexander, CTV National News' Melanie Nagy, The Canadian Press and The Associated Press