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Old 12-12-2018, 02:34 PM
FlikTheBlue FlikTheBlue is online now
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Can someone help me understand why Meng Wanzhou was arrested?

I've been trying to understand why Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei, was arrested in Canada at the request of US authorities. From what I can gather, it seems to be related to her somehow helping Huawei get around US sanctions on Iran. She reportedly made statements to HSBC bank that the a company named Skycom, which was doing business in Iran, was not an affiliate of Huawei. What I don't understand is why Huawei, which is a Chinese company, and Meng Wanzhou, who is a Chinese citizen, would be bound to honor US sanctions on Iran. If China decided to institute sanctions on, say, Freelandia, and my US based business continues to do business with Freelandia, would that give China the authority to put out a warrant for my arrest?
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Old 12-12-2018, 02:45 PM
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I've been trying to understand why Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei, was arrested in Canada at the request of US authorities. From what I can gather, it seems to be related to her somehow helping Huawei get around US sanctions on Iran. She reportedly made statements to HSBC bank that the a company named Skycom, which was doing business in Iran, was not an affiliate of Huawei. What I don't understand is why Huawei, which is a Chinese company, and Meng Wanzhou, who is a Chinese citizen, would be bound to honor US sanctions on Iran. If China decided to institute sanctions on, say, Freelandia, and my US based business continues to do business with Freelandia, would that give China the authority to put out a warrant for my arrest?
Because she attempted to deceive various international banks to give loans to a shell company in Iran knowing this was a violation of US sanctions. YOU might not think the US sanctions are a big deal, but those banks would have been on the hook for those loans if it came out (which, obviously, it did)...and they would have faced rather large (potential) US economic penalties for violating them (there is also the allegation she sent US tech to Iran which would be another issue, especially for the US). So, that's why she was arrested. The US is attempting to extradite her at this point.
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Old 12-12-2018, 03:01 PM
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Is there some international agreement that enforces sanctions one country puts upon another?
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Old 12-12-2018, 03:03 PM
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Because she attempted to deceive various international banks to give loans to a shell company in Iran knowing this was a violation of US sanctions. YOU might not think the US sanctions are a big deal, but those banks would have been on the hook for those loans if it came out (which, obviously, it did)...and they would have faced rather large (potential) US economic penalties for violating them (there is also the allegation she sent US tech to Iran which would be another issue, especially for the US). So, that's why she was arrested. The US is attempting to extradite her at this point.
I think US sanctions should apply to US businesses and citizens. The part that I don't get is why US sanctions apply to Chinese companies. If we start saying that US sanctions apply to every country around the globe, what's to stop Russia from imposing sanctions on Ukraine, or China on Taiwan, and then arresting any American businessperson passing through Russia or China because that businessperson has business in Ukraine or Taiwan?
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Old 12-12-2018, 03:10 PM
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I think US sanctions should apply to US businesses and citizens. The part that I don't get is why US sanctions apply to Chinese companies. If we start saying that US sanctions apply to every country around the globe, what's to stop Russia from imposing sanctions on Ukraine, or China on Taiwan, and then arresting any American businessperson passing through Russia or China because that businessperson has business in Ukraine or Taiwan?
Well, US sanctions wouldn't apply to Chinese companies except in so far as the US would, obviously, retaliate against any company breaking the sanctions. If this Chinese company had violated the sanctions alone and by itself without trying to use international banks and the like (as well as selling US technology) then I doubt she would have been arrested...more likely her company would have been barred from selling in the US or some similar action.

Since China hasn't put sanctions on companies doing business in Taiwan, I'm unsure how that relates. Same goes for Russia. I suppose they COULD do that...and if an American attempted to defraud international banks and sell Russian/Chinese tech to the company under sanction then that person certainly could be arrested. RUSSIA is under sanction for it's Crimea adventure, and, basically, if a Russia national working for a Russia flagged company tried to pull a similar stunt and flew to Canada or some other country with that pesky rule of law stuff (and an extradition treaty with the US) then I'm confident that Russian would also have been arrested.

Put it this way. Justin Trudeau looked into this when it was first happening and supported Canadian law enforcement actions on this...at a potential large cost wrt backlash from China. I'd say that should go a long way to indicating that the Canadians, at least, actually think there is something to this, not just a US snit over sanctions.
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Old 12-12-2018, 04:45 PM
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I've been wondering about this too. Why is a Chinese National bound by US law?
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:03 PM
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Is there some international agreement that enforces sanctions one country puts upon another?
Her arrest isn't about the sanctions, at least not directly; it's about the fact that she was involved in obtaining loans from banks under false pretenses.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meng_Wanzhou#Detention

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Originally Posted by Wikipedia
On 7 December, it was revealed that the arrest warrant was issued on 22 August 2018 by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York; according to the prosecutor in Canadian court, Meng was "charged with conspiracy to defraud multiple international institutions". The warrant was based on allegations of a conspiracy to defraud banks which had cleared money that was claimed to be for Huawei, but was actually for Skycom, an entity claimed to be entirely controlled by Huawei, which was said to be dealing in Iran, contrary to sanctions. According to the defense lawyer, the bank involved in the dealings was HSBC. The allegations were rejected by the defense lawyer saying Meng did not break any US or Canadian law.
The US says she broke our laws, she says she didn't. So I guess they will sort this out in court.
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:20 PM
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Thanks, Machine Elf.
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Old 12-12-2018, 08:34 PM
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Does her company do business in the US? That may be a reason they need to abide by our sanctions.
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Old 12-12-2018, 08:51 PM
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Yes, Huawei is a massive datacenter hardware vendor

Last edited by Palooka; 12-12-2018 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:03 PM
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In case anyone harbors warm sentiments about Huawei, this article (from Bloomberg) should be bracing.

Last edited by KarlGauss; 12-12-2018 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:39 PM
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In case anyone harbors warm sentiments about Huawei, this article (from Bloomberg) should be bracing.
Not to defend Huawei (which is almost certainly involved in spying of some sorts), but that article specifically is thought to have some problems regarding both the supposed technology (1-wire/I2C isn't an easy after-thought), as well as confirmation (Apple claims to have done a thorough investigation and strongly denies it).

An alphabet soup of US agencies say not to use Huawei for other reasons though, so you really shouldn't.

Just to complicate the situation that was already pretty touchy, the Cheeto Benito says he's willing to "intervene", turning this from a sticky-but-legal extradition and US dept of Justice issue to part of his ridiculous trade dispute. (Which I complain about in a different thread). So we have all that to look forward to.
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Old 12-12-2018, 10:07 PM
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Or...

He just took advantage of a reciprocal extradition treaty to drag Canada into his fight with China. Something they have very successfully avoided, to this point. He intends to sour relations between Canada and China, it seems. He no doubt hates seeing them making deals, being on good terms, etc.
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Old 12-12-2018, 11:03 PM
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Any bank that wants to do business with the USA has to abide by its sanctions rules. IIRC, that includes not doing business with any banks that do NOT abide by US rules. SO the banking world is divided in two - those that abide by US rules, and those that don't. And these two sets of banks don't talk to each other. Guess which group any bank wants to belong to? Except maybe the National Bank of Iran and the National Bank of North Korea, there are not many banks that want to be divorced from the US system. After all, that means you can't exchange cheques, deposits, money transfers, etc - ie. do any business - with the US banking world.

I presume some of the banks she allegedly mislead had some presence in the USA, hence the USA claims to have jurisdiction.

There's an analogy about 800-pound gorillas in here somewhere. Trump blatantly turning it into a trade war chess move (Checkers? Tic tac toe? Rock-paper-paper?) hasn't helped convince people it's strictly about rule of law.

(If you recall, the USA passed a law about foreign banks reporting assets of US citizens abroad - with penalties so onerous that the net result for most foreign banks was to dump any citizens doing business with them, rather than risk being accused of misreporting. 800lb.)

Last edited by md2000; 12-12-2018 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 12-13-2018, 12:05 AM
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Just to complicate the situation that was already pretty touchy, the Cheeto Benito says he's willing to "intervene", turning this from a sticky-but-legal extradition and US dept of Justice issue to part of his ridiculous trade dispute. (Which I complain about in a different thread). So we have all that to look forward to.
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Old 12-13-2018, 12:07 AM
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There's an analogy about 800-pound gorillas in here somewhere. Trump blatantly turning it into a trade war chess move (Checkers? Tic tac toe? Rock-paper-paper?) hasn't helped convince people it's strictly about rule of law.
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Old 12-13-2018, 01:51 AM
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Can someone help me understand why Meng Wanzhou was arrested?

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Originally Posted by manson1972 View Post
I've been wondering about this too. Why is a Chinese National bound by US law?


If a Chinese person is doing business with US banks, that person has to comply with US banking laws, which in this case included a requirement to comply with the sanctions.

It's the allegation of breach of US banking laws that is the basis for the extradition request, not the sanctions as such.

Last edited by Northern Piper; 12-13-2018 at 01:52 AM.
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Old 12-13-2018, 07:26 AM
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I presume some of the banks she allegedly mislead had some presence in the USA, hence the USA claims to have jurisdiction.
According to the Wikipedia entry I linked to upthread, the bank in question is HSBC - which does have US operations.
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Old 12-13-2018, 04:43 PM
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Sorry, but my point remains - the alleged "simple legal issue" has now been transformed through lack of subtlety into what appears to the rest of the world as a third world level pressure tactic. I have no doubt that the original intent was to simply enforce US banking laws. However, it has now appears to the rest of the world a simple leverage ploy in a trade war. China has felt free to retaliate with its own trumped-up (small "t") detention of Canadian nationals.

Not a political jab or diatribe... this is simply the same behaviour that the USA has pushed in many other venues long before the current president. As examples, the USA has tried for 60 years to enforce an embargo on dealing with Cuba, with dwindling success. It is trying to reinstate sanctions on Iran and foreign companies with no connection to the USA are having difficulty because of its control of the banking system. This extradition / prosecution is just more of the same. It may succeed, but each time it does so without international consensus is simply a pyrrhic victory.

So to answer the OP - the USA can claim to have the right to control certain aspects of international commerce because the banks in question also have dealings with America. Whether they get away with such a claim depends on the cooperation of foreign countries like Canada. Otherwise, all it does is discourage foreign businesspersons from visiting the USA.

I'm not sure how this actually works. I was under the impression that to extradite someone, the act also had to be a crime in Canada. Perhaps, depending on the definition of the crime, it is? I'm not sure what the situation is with acts committed overseas against a bank with a presence (but not based) in Canada, with transactions that did not affect Canada. Obviously, the situation is not that simple, based on the fact that the extradition hearing seems to be turning out to be fairly lengthy.

In some cases - the most obvious being the laws against sex tourism - countries (including USA and Canada) claim to be entitled to regulate what happens outside their jurisdiction and have not been told by their courts that they cannot. But AFAIK IANAL that only applies to that country's residents and citizens who travel abroad to commit these acts, not as a general excuse to prosecute anyone passing through the country.
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Old 12-13-2018, 04:51 PM
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Sorry, but my point remains - the alleged "simple legal issue" has now been transformed through lack of subtlety into what appears to the rest of the world as a third world level pressure tactic. I have no doubt that the original intent was to simply enforce US banking laws. However, it has now appears to the rest of the world a simple leverage ploy in a trade war. China has felt free to retaliate with its own trumped-up (small "t") detention of Canadian nationals.

Not a political jab or diatribe... this is simply the same behaviour that the USA has pushed in many other venues long before the current president. As examples, the USA has tried for 60 years to enforce an embargo on dealing with Cuba, with dwindling success. It is trying to reinstate sanctions on Iran and foreign companies with no connection to the USA are having difficulty because of its control of the banking system. This extradition / prosecution is just more of the same. It may succeed, but each time it does so without international consensus is simply a pyrrhic victory.

So to answer the OP - the USA can claim to have the right to control certain aspects of international commerce because the banks in question also have dealings with America. Whether they get away with such a claim depends on the cooperation of foreign countries like Canada. Otherwise, all it does is discourage foreign businesspersons from visiting the USA.

I'm not sure how this actually works. I was under the impression that to extradite someone, the act also had to be a crime in Canada. Perhaps, depending on the definition of the crime, it is? I'm not sure what the situation is with acts committed overseas against a bank with a presence (but not based) in Canada, with transactions that did not affect Canada. Obviously, the situation is not that simple, based on the fact that the extradition hearing seems to be turning out to be fairly lengthy.

In some cases - the most obvious being the laws against sex tourism - countries (including USA and Canada) claim to be entitled to regulate what happens outside their jurisdiction and have not been told by their courts that they cannot. But AFAIK IANAL that only applies to that country's residents and citizens who travel abroad to commit these acts, not as a general excuse to prosecute anyone passing through the country.
I think you are conflating what Trump tried to do (and was shut down for by his own folks at Justice) with the larger issue. TRUMP tried to use this as a trade bargaining chip, but as noted he was shut down in his attempt. The crime she is being detained for in Canada isn't ignoring the sanctions but international bank fraud and possibly selling (illegally) US technology to Iran. Since the details are still a bit hazy we don't know more than that, but, as I noted earlier, the Canadian government seems to think there is enough to this to do what they are doing, even in the face of China already retaliating.
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Old 12-14-2018, 07:40 AM
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I'm not sure how this actually works. I was under the impression that to extradite someone, the act also had to be a crime in Canada. Perhaps, depending on the definition of the crime, it is? I'm not sure what the situation is with acts committed overseas against a bank with a presence (but not based) in Canada, with transactions that did not affect Canada. Obviously, the situation is not that simple, based on the fact that the extradition hearing seems to be turning out to be fairly lengthy.
The crime in question is bank fraud. Pretty sure that's also a crime in Canada.
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Old 12-14-2018, 08:13 AM
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I"ve not been able to find the actual charging document on-line (apparently it's a warrant issued by the Federal Court of the Eastern District of New York, August 22, 2018).

However, two of the documents filed by the defence in the Supreme Court of British Columbia have been posted on-line: Read the court documents in the Meng Wanshou case.

Paragraph 7 of the Factum states that she is charged in the US with "serious charges of fraud involving millions of dollars". The allegation appears to be that by misrepresenting her company's non-compliance with US sanctions laws, for the purpose of obtaining funding from a bank, she thereby committed a fraud on the bank.

Fraud is certainly a criminal offence in Canada, so it meets the "double criminality" requirement of extradition laws.
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Old 12-14-2018, 08:19 AM
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I'm not sure how this actually works. I was under the impression that to extradite someone, the act also had to be a crime in Canada. Perhaps, depending on the definition of the crime, it is? I'm not sure what the situation is with acts committed overseas against a bank with a presence (but not based) in Canada, with transactions that did not affect Canada. Obviously, the situation is not that simple, based on the fact that the extradition hearing seems to be turning out to be fairly lengthy.
It's not that the act in question has to be a crime in Canada. That would actually give the Canadian courts jurisdiction to try the case themselves.

The test is whether the offence alleged by the requesting country is also an offence in Canada. There's no need that the alleged offence have any factual connection to Canada.

So if someone in Canada is charged with murder in Australia, and the facts have no connection to Canada, Australia could still apply to have the person extradited, because murder is a crime in both Australia and Canada. That's what the "double criminality" principle is about.

As for why the US courts would have jurisdiction over a foreign national, it's that she's alleged to have committed an offence in the United States, namely the bank fraud. Being a foreign national doesn't give you immunity from US laws in the US.
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Old 12-14-2018, 10:46 AM
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Thanks for the responses.

So the alleged fraud from what I'm reading is misrepresenting the ownership/independence of the company making a loan or some such. I haven't seen anything that suggests the company failed to pay what was owed, or otherwise got away with a lage sum. It simply would not have gotten that financial backing without the incorrect guarantee.

So similarly, if I untruthfully tell the bank I make $300,000 a year to buy get a loan for a luxury automobile, but make all the requisite payments regardless, am I guilty of fraud? I always understood that defrauding involved theft using false pretenses instead of force or threats.
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:03 AM
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As for why the US courts would have jurisdiction over a foreign national, it's that she's alleged to have committed an offence in the United States, namely the bank fraud. Being a foreign national doesn't give you immunity from US laws in the US.
I can understand that. I just wasn't aware she was ever actually IN the United States.
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:15 AM
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So similarly, if I untruthfully tell the bank I make $300,000 a year to buy get a loan for a luxury automobile, but make all the requisite payments regardless, am I guilty of fraud?
Sure. If they're approving the loan because you've convinced them that there's a fully-insured $300,000 car out there that they can repossess and auction off if you stop making payments - but you've actually used the money to launch a super-sketchy business venture that has zero real property that (if you stop making payments) can be repossessed and auctioned off to cover their losses - then you're exposing them to a financial risk that they didn't sign up for. That's fraud.
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:59 AM
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Fun personal fact: I have dual US-UK citizenship, and live and work in the UK for an organization that on occasion has interaction with Russian-controlled firms. Under the current sanctions my organization is fine but because I hold a US passport I cannot personally be involved in any work directly related to those firms or both I and my organization could potentially be considered in violation of those sanctions.

Fortunately these are not firms I usually work with and I'm not high enough in the food chain to make any larger policy or strategic decisions so it's all a minor annoyance rather than a major problem, but these things are taken seriously.
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Old 12-14-2018, 12:49 PM
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So similarly, if I untruthfully tell the bank I make $300,000 a year to buy get a loan for a luxury automobile, but make all the requisite payments regardless, am I guilty of fraud? I always understood that defrauding involved theft using false pretenses instead of force or threats.
You really got to watch the documentary Abacus: Small Enough to Jail. It's about the only prosecution of a bank resulting from the real estate crash of 2008.

Abacus was run by Asian-Americans who had a personal/cultural basis for how they decided to give out mortgages. The Feds didn't like this and prosecuted them horribly. Total travesty of justice. The bankers were found not guilty.

Bottom line: None of the FHA backed loans Abacus made went into default.

OTOH, mega-banks who had huge numbers of properties foreclosed which ruined millions were treated with kid gloves.

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Old 12-14-2018, 01:10 PM
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Sure. If they're approving the loan because you've convinced them that there's a fully-insured $300,000 car out there that they can repossess and auction off if you stop making payments - but you've actually used the money to launch a super-sketchy business venture that has zero real property that (if you stop making payments) can be repossessed and auctioned off to cover their losses - then you're exposing them to a financial risk that they didn't sign up for. That's fraud.
I think if you lie on a loan app it's fraud regardless of what you do with the money or even if there is collateral they can repossess.
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Old 12-14-2018, 01:28 PM
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I think if you lie on a loan app it's fraud regardless of what you do with the money or even if there is collateral they can repossess.
Agreed; I was responding to md2000's specific example (and I see now that I misread it as a luxury car worth $300,000, rather than lying about a $300,000 salary ). Banks require borrowers to provide information that lets them (the bank) make a reasonable assessment of the risk involved. Any lie on the loan application hampers that risk assessment, and is rightly illegal.
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Old 12-14-2018, 01:48 PM
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I can understand that. I just wasn't aware she was ever actually IN the United States.


I don't know if she was ever in the States, but the application for loans appears to have been made to a bank in the States.

US federal law asserts jurisdiction over people who direct crimes in the US, even if they're not physically in the States.

For example, there was Noriega, who was convicted of organising drug trafficking in the US, from Panama.
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Old 12-14-2018, 02:06 PM
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I don't know if she was ever in the States, but the application for loans appears to have been made to a bank in the States.

US federal law asserts jurisdiction over people who direct crimes in the US, even if they're not physically in the States.

For example, there was Noriega, who was convicted of organising drug trafficking in the US, from Panama.
Yes, I was wondering about Noriega when reading about this woman. Thanks for the info!
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Old 12-14-2018, 02:07 PM
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Thought I'd link to a China Uncensored video on this, though they are more talking about China threatening Canada than going into details about what the OP is asking. Still, it's interesting if you want to see what China is up too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRH3_WgmFdU
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Old 12-14-2018, 07:43 PM
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Good article that explains the main questions being asked here. In particular, it explains the following key points:
  • Meng is not being charged with violating Iran sanctions, but with bank fraud. (The misrepresentations she made to HSBC placed the bank in serious legal jeopardy, and carry a sentence of up to 30 years imprisonment.)
  • It is not improper to subject Meng and Huawei to U.S. sanctions laws. (At least in part because Huawei purchases and resells substantial quantities of goods of US origin.)
  • Meng has received due process appropriate for an extradition proceeding. (A matter of observable fact, and contrary to the posturing and retaliations by the Chinese, which is particularly hypocritical given their own human rights record. Moreover, those of Meng's defenders who complained that the full reasons for the arrest were not initially disclosed appear to be ignorant of the fact that this was because Meng's own lawyers requested a publication ban.)
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:19 PM
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Yes, and yet somehow Meng's own affidavit and lawyer's brief appeared on Scribd, as linked to in the CTV article.
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