Meng Wanzhou suffers from hypertension and struggles to eat solid food. She has a sleep disorder. She’s willing to put up a couple of multi-million-dollar homes as collateral.
Those are some of the arguments lawyers are wielding in a closely watched attempt to free the Huawei Technologies Co. finance chief. Her arrest Dec. 1 unsettled global markets and thrust China’s largest technology company into the heart of sensitive negotiations between the world’s two largest economies. In court filings, her attorneys paint a picture of a cancer survivor who’s undergone multiple surgeries and needs daily medication to cope with a plethora of health issues, while outlining how her entire family has deep roots in Vancouver, where she’s being held.
Bloomberg reports that the CFO’s bail hearing resumes Monday in the Canadian city after Friday’s proceedings yielded no result. The 46-year-old mother of four, accused of guiding a global effort to mask violations of sanctions on sales to Iran, has languished in jail since her arrest. It’s an unprecedented effort to hold accountable a senior executive who’s considered part of China’s inner circle — the daughter of billionaire Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei. Meng’s lawyers argue their client has no criminal record and doesn’t pose a flight risk.
Meng’s team outlined her health issues in unusual detail. A survivor of thyroid cancer who also suffers from severe hypertension and sleep apnea, she needs daily access to drugs, they said.
“I continue to feel unwell and I am worried about my health deteriorating while I am incarcerated,” she said in a filing. “I currently have difficulty eating solid foods and have had to modify my diet to address those issues. My doctor has for years provided me with daily packages of medications.”
The other prong of the argument revolves around how Vancouver plays a special role for Meng — as it does for many a wealthy Chinese — a place to buy property, educate her children and just let her hair down from time to time. Meng would carve a few weeks out of her punishing travel schedule every year for a break in the city, according to court documents. She’d time it for the summer, when her children would be there. Just last August, she was seen strolling through a local park, snapping photos with her in-laws.
Meng, who first visited Vancouver about 15 years ago, bought a six-bedroom house with her husband Liu Xiaozong in 2009 that’s now assessed at C$5.6 million ($4.2 million), according to property records and an affidavit by Meng read aloud in court. In 2016, they bought a second property, a brick-and-glass mansion set in a 21,000-square-foot lot assessed at C$16.3 million. Purchased with mortgages from HSBC, she’s offered to post the family’s equity in both as part of her bail.
“She would not flee,” Meng’s defense lawyer David Martin responded. “She has a home here.”