Summary of Facts
Wanzhou Meng (“Meng”), also known as “Cathy Meng” and “Sabrina Meng,” is the Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (Huawei”), a corporation organized under the laws of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) and the world’s largest telecommunications equipment company. Meng is a citizen of the PRC and a daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei. In addition to her role as CFO, Meng currently serves as Huawei’s Deputy Chairwoman of the Board, and serves or has served in various roles at other Huawei subsidiaries and affiliates. Meng also served on the board of Hong Kong-based Skycom Tech Co. Ltd. (“Skycom”) in or about and between February 2008 and April 2009. According to financial statements for Skycom for the years 2009 and 2010, the “principal activities of Skycom were engaged in [sic] investment holding and acting as a contractor for contracts undertaking [sic] in Iran.”
孟晚舟，英文名Cathy Meng或Sabrina Meng，是华为技术有限公司（以下简称”华为”）的首席财务官。华为依据中国的法律运营，是全球最大的电信设备提供商。孟晚舟是中国公民，其为华为创始人任正非的女儿。除了是CFO，她也是华为的副董事长。她还在多家华为子公司中担任过或正在担任职务。孟晚舟也曾于2008年2月至2009年4月前后，在总部位于香港的Skycom科技有限公司（以下简称”Skycom”）担任过董事。Skycom 2009和2010年的财报显示：Skycom的主要业务是投资控股并担任与伊朗（签订）的合同的承包商。
According to information obtained through an investigation by U.S. authorities, including the following, Huawei operated Skycom as an unofficial subsidiary to conduct business in Iran while concealing Skycom’s link to Huawei. In this manner and as explained in further detail below, Huawei could conceal the nature of certain business it was conducting in and related to Iran, which is generally considered a high-risk jurisdiction.
Former employees of Skycom have stated, in sum and substance, that Skycom was not distinct from Huawei. For example, Skycom employees had Huawei email addresses and badges, individuals working in Iran used different sets of stationery (“Huawei” and “Skycom”) for different business purposes, and the leadership of Skycom in Iran were Huawei employees;
Documents show that multiple Skycom bank accounts were controlled by Huawei employees, and Huawei employees were signatories on these accounts between 2007 and 2013;
Documents and email records show that persons listed as “Managing Directors” for Skycom were Huawei employees;
Skycom official documents, including several Memoranda of Understanding, bore the Huawei logo;
Email correspondence and other records show that all identified Skycom business was conducted using “@huawei.com” email addresses; and
Documents show that a purportedly unrelated entity to which Skycom was supposedly “sold” in 2009 was actually also controlled by Huawei until at least in or about 2014.
Transactional records and other documents obtained by U.S. authorities further demonstrate that Huawei operated Skycom as an unofficial subsidiary to conduct business in Iran while concealing Skycom’s link to Huawei. Among other things, records obtained through the investigation show that Skycom was used to transact telecommunications business in Iran for major Iranian-based telecommunications companies.
PROVISIONAL ARREST REQUEST FOR WANZHOU MENG
The investigation by U.S. authorities has revealed a conspiracy between and among Meng and other Huawei representatives to misrepresent to numerous multinational financial institutions, including a global financial institution which conducts business in the United States (“Financial Institution 1”), Huawei’s business practices, particularly Huawei’s control of Skycom in or about and between 2009 and 2014. Specifically, Meng and other Huawei representatives repeatedly lied about the nature of the relationship between Huawei and Skycom and the fact that Skycom operated as Huawei’s Iran-based affiliate in order to continue to obtain banking services from multinational financial institutions.
The motivation for these misrepresentations stemmed from Huawei’s need to move money out of countries that are subject to U.S. or E.U. sanctions – such as Iran, Syria, or Sudan – through the international banking system. At various times, both the U.S. and E.U. legal regimes have imposed sanctions that prohibit the provision of U.S. or E.U. services to Iran, such as banking services. Of particular relevance, companies such as Huawei operating in sanctioned countries often need to repatriate income out of those countries by relying on U.S.-dollar clearing transactions, which typically pass through the United States, or Euro-clearing transactions, which typically pass through E.U. countries. Huawei was a customer of Financial Institution 1 and the other victim institutions, and conducted a significant amount of its international banking activity, including U.S.-dollar-clearing transactions, with Financial Institution 1. The financial institutions at issue, including Financial Institution 1, maintained policies by which they would not onboard Iran-based clients or process Iran-related transactions through the United States, so as to avoid exposure to U.S. civil and criminal liability. In response to due diligence inquiries by the banks regarding these internal policies, Meng and other Huawei representatives repeated stated that Huawei did not operate Skycom and that, with respect to Financial Institution 1, Huawei would not use Financial Institution 1 to process any Iran-related transactions.
Because Meng and other Huawei representatives misrepresented to Financial Institution 1 and the other financial institutions about Huawei’s relationship with Skycom, these victim banking institutions were induced into carrying out transactions that they otherwise would not have completed. As a result, they violated the banks’ internal policies, potentially violated U.S. sanctions laws, and exposed the banks to the risk of fines and forfeiture. In particular, these relationships included the clearing of hundreds of millions of U.S.-dollar transactions through correspondent accounts at financial institutions in Eurozone countries. In essence, these misrepresentations exposed the financial institutions to serious harm and denied the institutions the opportunity to make decisions based on the true risk of processing certain transaction and the reputations risk associated with banking high-risk clients such as Huawei.
For example, during the relevant timeframe, Financial Institution 1 was under investigation for U.S. sanctions violations involving Iran and later entered into a deferred prosecution agreement pertaining to U.S. sanctions violations involving Iran, and could therefore have suffered criminal consequences for processing Huawei’s Iran-based transactions.
Relying on the misrepresentations by Meng and other Huawei representatives, Financial Institution 1 and its U.S. subsidiary cleared more than $100 million worth of transactions related to Skycom through the United States between approximately 2010 and 2014.
Many of the misrepresentations at issue were in direct response to a series of articles published by Reuters describing how Huawei controlled Skycom, and alleging that Skycom had attempted to import U.S.-manufactured computer equipment into Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. One of the Reuters articles reported that Meng was a member of the board of directors of Skycom for several years. In statements reported in those Reuters articles, Huawei denied control of Skycom or violations of law.
According to information obtained from international financial institutions that conducted business with Huawei, after the Reuters articles were published, several of them, including Financial Institution 1, asked Huawei whether the allegations regarding their control of Skycom and business with Iran made in the Reuters articles were true. In response to those questions, Huawei employees and executives made a series of misrepresentations, both publicly and in private communications, with various banking executives, among other things, denying Huawei’s control of Skycom and claiming Huawei did not violate U.S. sanctions law.
For example, after the Reuters articles were published, Financial Institution 1 requested that Huawei provide further information and clarification regarding the relationship of Huawei and Skycom. Although those inquiries were not addressed to Meng, on or about August 2013, Meng arranged for a meeting with an executive of Financial Institution 1, and during that meeting, made a number of misrepresentations to an executive of Financial Institution 1.
During that meeting, Meng used an English interpreter and relied on a PowerPoint presentation written in Chinese. Meng stated that she was using an interpreter to be precise with her language. After the meeting, an executive from Financial Institution 1 asked for an English language version of Meng’s PowerPoint presentation. Meng arranged for hand delivery of the document to Financial Institution 1 on or about September 3, 2013. The PowerPoint presentation included numerous untrue or misleading representations regarding Huawei’s ownership and control of Skycom and Huawei’s compliance with applicable U.S. laws. For example:
Meng stated that “Huawei operates in Iran in strict compliance with applicable laws, regulations and sanctions of UN, US and EU,” although Skycom was using the U.S. financial system to conduct prohibited Iran-related transactions;
Meng stated that “Huawei’s engagement with Skycom is normal business cooperation. Through its trade compliance organization and process, Huawei requires Skycom to make commitments on observing applicable laws, regulations and export control requirements.” However, as discussed above, Huawei did not “cooperate” with Skycom; Skycom was entirely controlled by Huawei;
Meng Stated that “Huawei was once a shareholder of Skycom, and I [Meng] was once a member of Skycom’s Board of Directors. Holding shares and a BOD position was meant to better manage our partner and help Skycom to better comply with relevant managerial requirements.” However, as discussed above, there were no “Skycom” employees who were managed by Huawei; Skycom employees were Huawei employees;
Meng stated that “As there was no process or organization at Skycom, Board supervision was the only way to ensure trade compliance. Holding shares or assigning Board member could help Huawei to better understand Skycom’s financial results and business performance, and to strengthen and monitor Skycom’s compliance.” As discussed above, even while Meng was on the Board, Huawei did not “monitor” Skycom’s compliance – Skycom’s “employees” were effectively Huawei employees who used Huawei email addresses.
Meng stated that “Huawei has sold all its shares in Skycom, and I [Meng] also quit my position on the Skycom Board.” As discussed, that statement was highly misleading because Huawei sold its shares in Skycom to a company also controlled by Huawei.
Not only did Meng give this presentation herself, but both the written presentation and her oral statements to the executive of Financial Institution 1 refer to Meng in the first person, using the word “I”, indicating Meng’s personal knowledge of the facts surrounding her statements.
Following Meng’s presentation, several Financial Institution 1 risk committees relied in part upon Meng’s representations to continue banking Huawei. For example:
A briefing paper from in or about November 2013 stated, “Huawei confirms that Skycom is a business partner of Huawei and works with Huawei in sales and services in Iran.” The minutes for the meeting reflect, “Huawei advised [Financial Institution 1] that its shareholding in Skycom was sold in 2009 and that Cathy Meng (CFO Huawei) resigned her position on the board of Skycom in April 2009 … [T]he committee agreed to RETAIN the relationship with Huawei …”
Similar statements are in risk committee briefings from in or about February 2014 and March 2014. All of the committees relied on Meng’s statements, and none of these committees took adverse action related to the Huawei relationship with Financial Institution 1.
An executive at Financial Institution 1 stated that Financial Institution 1’s risk committee decided to retain Huawei as a client because “Huawei sold Skycom and the Huawei Chief Financial Officer (CFO) was no longer on the Skycom board.” The executive further said that, had Huawei not actually sold Skycom, such a fact would have been “material” to deciding to exit the client relationship.
On or about April 15, 2015, a Financial Institution 1 reputational risk committee met in New York City to discuss whether to begin providing banking services to a Huawei U.S. subsidiary. Meng’s statement about Huawei’s sale of Skycom was presented to that committee, along with other information. The committee declined to provide banking services to the Huawei U.S. subsidiary.
The misrepresentations personally made by Meng were part of a broader conspiracy to misrepresent the relationship between Huawei and Skycom. Other Huawei employees and representatives made similar misrepresentations to Financial Institution 1 and to at least three other global financial institutions. For example, a reputational risk report from one of those financial institutions states that “Huawei has stated that Skycom is a HK [Hong Kong] local business partner and has no further affiliation with Huawei.” Some of these misrepresentations were made, involved, or resulted in interstate and foreign wire transmissions.
Wanzhou Meng is a citizen of the People’s Republic of China born on February 13, 1972. She is believed to reside in China. She is traveling to Vancouver, Canada on Saturday, December 1, 2018, on Cathay Pacific (CX) Flight 838, in transit to a third country, believed to be Mexico. She is scheduled to arrive at Vancouver International Airport at approximately 11:30 AM, PST. Meng will be traveling on a Hong Kong passport bearing passport number KJ0403962. The photograph attached to the Request for Provisional Arrest was obtained from a publicly available website for HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES CO. LTD, which represents the person depicted as Ms. Wanzhou Meng (Sabrina Meng), the Deputy Chairwoman, and CFO.
BASIS FOR URGENCY
The United States first obtained information regarding Meng’s travel to Canada on November 29, 2018. U.S. authorities believe, based on the totality of circumstances, that unless Meng is provisionally arrested in Canada on Saturday, December 1, 2018, while in transit, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to secure her presence in the United States for prosecution. The United States has no extradition treaty with the People’s Republic of China, and Meng, who is the CFO of one of China’s major corporate entities and the daughter of its founder, has significant assets at her disposal. She has the ability to travel and remain outside of the United States indefinitely.
U.S. authorities believe that after in or about April 2017, Huawei became aware of a U.S. criminal investigation of Huawei when Huawei’s U.S. subsidiaries were served with a grand jury subpoena commanding production of, among other materials, all records of Huawei’s Iran-based business. As a result, Huawei executives began altering their travel patterns, to avoid any travel to or through the United States. Specifically, high-level Huawei executives, including Meng, have ceased traveling to the United States. Although Meng previously traveled to the United States multiple times in 2014, 2015, and 2016, her last trip to the United States was from late February through early March 2017. Meng has not come the United States since then. Moreover, another senior Huawei executive came to the United States at least four times between 2013 and 2016, and has not traveled to the United States since then.