The daughter of Huawei’s founder, a top executive at the Chinese technology giant, was arrested in Canada and faces extradition to the United States, roiling global stock markets as it threatened to inflame Sino-U.S. trade tensions afresh.
The shock arrest of Meng Wanzhou, 46, who is Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s chief financial officer, raises fresh doubts over a 90-day truce on trade struck between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping on Saturday - the day she was detained.
Her arrest, revealed late on Wednesday by Canadian authorities, is related to U.S. sanctions, a person familiar with the matter said. Reuters was unable to determine the precise nature of the possible violations.
The arrest and any potential sanctions on the world’s second biggest smartphone maker could have major repercussions on the global technology supply chain. Shares in Asian suppliers to Huawei, which also counts Qualcomm Inc and Intel among its major suppliers, tumbled on Thursday.
Huawei is already under intense scrutiny from U.S. and other western governments about its ties to the Chinese government, driven by concerns it could be used by the state for spying. It has been locked out of the U.S. and some other markets for telecom gear. Huawei has repeatedly insisted Beijing has no influence over it.
Meng, one of the vice chairs on the company’s board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested on Dec. 1 at the request of U.S. authorities and a court hearing has been set for Friday, a Canadian Justice Department spokesman said. Trump and Xi had dined in Argentina on Dec. 1 at the G20 summit.
Sources told Reuters in April that U.S. authorities have been probing Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms equipment maker, since at least 2016 for allegedly shipping U.S.-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of U.S. export and sanctions laws.
Huawei, which generated $93 billion in revenue last year, confirmed the arrest in a statement. “The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng,” it said.