Judge Raises "Flight Risk" Concerns In Huawei CFO Bail Hearing

Update 1: At the mid-afternoon break, there continues to be a group of apparently Vancouver locals demanding Meng's release.

The post-lunch hearing was dominated by Crown attorney John Gibb-Carsley said the prosecution “always had a concern” about Liu acting as a surety because of his lack of connection to Canada and Vancouver.

Gibb-Carsley claimed that it was inappropriate for husband to act as “jailer” in the community.

Justice William Ehrcke of the British Columbia Supreme Court seemed to agree, voicing doubts that Meng's husband could act as her surety if she were released on bail.

The judge noted Liu’s visitor visa in Canada could lapse, which would prevent him from taking on the responsibility of ensuring Meng would meet her bail terms, pointing out that a surety had to be a resident of British Columbia"

“someone here on a visitor’s visa is not a resident of BC. It’s as simple as that, isn’t it?”

Meng’s defense lawyer David Martin said Liu had lived in Canada for three years.

However, more ominously for Meng's case, the judge made the point that "no flight risk" is a condition that can never be guaranteed should the court grant her request.

*  *  *

Having adjourned for lunch, the Huawei CFO bail hearing continues to raise eyebrows (among onlookers and the judge).

This morning's biggest headline is that Meng Wanzhou’s husband promised to post bail equal to C$15 million (around $11 million), made up of cash and the equity value in the couple’s homes in Vancouver, in order to gain her release from jail in Canada while she contests possible extradition to the U.S..

Meng

As we noted earlier, the value of these homes and cash as bail payment is peanuts compared with her father's estimated wealth of $2 billion (Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei).

In an almost comic exchange, as Bloomberg reports, Meng’s husband, Liu Xiaozong, would post the bail and ensure she complies with the terms of her confinement imposed by the court, David Martin, Meng’s defense lawyer, told Justice William Ehrcke of the British Columbia Supreme Court, reassuring that

“She is a woman of character and dignity,” Martin told the court.

“She would comply with your order.”

Of course she would...

To which the judge asked Martin, somewhat shocked at the suggestion, how Liu could possibly serve as his wife’s “jailer,” particularly if the judge couldn’t order Liu to remain in the country.

Martin said he wasn’t aware of Liu’s immigration status in Canada.

Crown attorney John Gibb-Carsley has argued against granting Meng bail because she’s so wealthy that she will easily be able to pay whatever is required and then flee. Since learning of the investigation into her alleged activities, Meng has avoided the U.S. and other Huawei executives have stopped traveling to the U.S., he added.

Additionally, Martin told the court that Meng would pay for her own security operations "as an added layer of assurance," producing an expert witness who testified that Meng's whereabouts could be confirmed through the use of technology:

“I’m very confident what we will have in place will satisfy the court.”

Of course, one can hardly blame her for running should she be granted bail, but, as Bloomberg concludes, the hearing in Vancouver is the start of a long legal process in Canada that could end with Meng being sent to the U.S. to stand trial. Even though the North American neighbors have a longstanding treaty governing extradition, it can take months, even years, for a defendant to be handed over, if at all. And further still, should a judge agree to extradite Meng, she would have multiple chances to appeal the decision.

Additionally, speaking on a Toronto Panel this afternoon, Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland reassured that the arrest of Huawei's CFO "was not in any way political" and confirmed that it was "absolutely essential" to follow the law.

The question overnight will be whether Apple's iPhone ban will be upheld (under appeal)?