A sign held outside the court bail hearing of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was held on an extradition warrant in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on December 11 2018. Picture: REUTERS/LINDSEY WASSON
A sign held outside the court bail hearing of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was held on an extradition warrant in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on December 11 2018. Picture: REUTERS/LINDSEY WASSON

Beijing/Ottawa — A third Canadian has been detained in China following the arrest of a Chinese technology executive in Vancouver, a Canadian government official said on Wednesday amid a diplomatic dispute also involving the US.

The detentions of the Canadians followed the December 1 arrest in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, CFO of the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, at the request of the US, which is engaged in a trade war with Canada.

The Canadian official, who spoke on the condition of not being identified, said there is no reason to believe the latest detention is linked to the previous arrests. The official gave no details of the latest incident.

Last week two Canadians — former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor — were detained by China amid the diplomatic quarrel triggered by Meng’s arrest.

The Canadian government has said several times it saw no explicit link between the arrest of Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, and the detentions of Kovrig and Spavor. But Beijing-based Western diplomats and former Canadian diplomats have said they believe the detentions are a “tit-for-tat” reprisal by China.

Meng is accused by the US of misleading multinational banks about Iran-linked transactions, putting the banks at risk of violating US sanctions. She was released on bail in Vancouver, where she owns two homes, while waiting to learn if she will be extradited to the US. She is due in court on February 6.

If extradited to the US, Meng would face charges of conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions, with a maximum sentence of 30 years for each charge. US President Donald Trump told Reuters last week he might intervene in the case if it would serve national security interests or help close a trade deal with China.

The comments upset Canada, which warned the US against politicising extradition cases.

China has protested Meng’s arrest to the US ambassador and said Washington should withdraw its arrest warrant. Last week, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo called the detention of the first two Canadians unlawful and called for their release.

Huawei is the world’s biggest supplier of telecoms network equipment and second biggest smartphone seller. The US has been looking since at least 2016 into whether Huawei shipped US-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of US export and sanctions laws, Reuters reported in April.

Reuters