Hong Kong: Shares across Asia plunged Thursday, with technology firms in Hong Kong and Shanghai battered after the arrest of a top executive at Chinese telecoms giant Huawei that has also fuelled fears about the recent China-US trade deal.
The prime minister declined to comment further on the case, citing a court-ordered publication ban sought by Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, arrested at the request of United States authorities as she was changing planes in Vancouver.
The United States has been looking since at least 2016 into whether Huawei violated USA sanctions against Iran, Reuters reported in April.
The Chinese government said Meng had broken no USA or Canadian laws and demanded Canada "immediately correct the mistake" and release her.
"The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng". The nations are engaged in a trade war that has seen both impose duties of billions of dollars on one another's goods.
The Chief Financial Officer of Huawei Technologies has been arrested in Canada.
Meng Wanzhouf, who is the daughter of the Chinese technology giant's founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested on suspicion of violating USA trade sanctions against Iran, Canada's The Globe and Mail newspaper reported. "As there is a publication ban in effect, we can not provide any further detail at this time".
Meng...to face unspecified charges in the Eastern District of NY, when she was transferring flights in Canada.
What could be behind it? A spokesman for the US attorney's office in Brooklyn also declined to comment.
The arrest is believed to be related to alleged violations of United States sanctions though there has been no official statement from Washington. Shortly afterwards a Canadian citizen in China was arrested and charged with spying.
How have China and Huawei responded?
Meng is the deputy chair of Huawei's board and is the daughter of company founder Zhengfei Ren, from his first marriage. The Globe and Mail newspaper, citing law enforcement sources, reported that Meng is suspected of trying to evade United States sanctions on Iran.
Huawei, one of the world's biggest suppliers of network gear used by phone and internet companies, has been the subject of deepening security concerns within the US government and the governments of countries like Australia and New Zealand. The Chinese embassy confirmed to the National Post that it was rescheduled "due to visa issues", however, and the delegation was still set to arrive late Thursday. China, which has spent the week thus far making conciliatory gestures to the U.S.in an attempt to bring the trade war to an end, is furious and is demanding Meng's release. The Chinese side has lodged stern representations with the US and Canadian side, and urged them to immediately correct the wrongdoing and restore the personal freedom of Ms. Meng Wanzhou.
But suspicions persist. Concern now centres on the deployment of fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks, where Huawei is at the cutting edge.
Huawei is not listed, but China's second-largest telecom equipment maker, ZTE Corp, sank almost 6 percent in Hong Kong while most of the nearby national bourses lost at least 2 percent.
Britain's largest mobile provider BT announced Wednesday it was removing Huawei's telecommunications equipment from its 4G cellular network, after the MI6 foreign intelligence service chief singled out the company as a potential security risk. Since then, Huawei is facing operational difficulties in the USA and some other countries like Australia, New Zealand, etc.
Wasn't another Chinese company also accused of Iran sanctions violations? The company's yearly financial report says the earnings come in equal part from business inside and outside the country.