In a case that has drawn international attention amid heightened trade tensions between the U.S. and China, a Canadian judge granted bail Tuesday to a top Chinese telecom executive whom the U.S. has accused of trying to circumvent trade sanctions against Iran.
Vancouver Justice William Ehreke granted conditional freedom for Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of telecommunications giant Huawei and daughter of its founder, if she can post CA$10 million bail ($7.5 million U.S.) — with at least CA$7 million ($5.2 million U.S.) in cash.
Her lawyers had offered to put the family's two Vancouver homes, worth $21.9 million Canadian ($16.3 million U.S.) up for collateral.
Meng's legal team had also told Ehreke that she'll foot the bill for GPS monitoring and round-the-clock guards.
The U.S. has until Jan. 8 to file for extradition or Meng can be set free, prosecutors and the judge said.
In the meantime, she will have to remain indoors between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. every day and stay confined to the greater Vancouver area, according to the Toronto Star.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday he would consider intervening in the case if necessary for U.S. interests.
"If I think it's good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made — which is a very important thing — what's good for national security — I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary," Trump told Reuters.
"They have not called me yet," he said, referring to Chinese officials. "They are talking to my people. But they have not called me yet."
The 46-year-old Meng was taken into custody by Canadian authorities, on behest of the U.S. on Dec. 1 as she was changing planes in Vancouver.
Canadian prosecutors on Friday first revealed details of the U.S. case against Meng, accusing her of misleading banks to believe her company had no connections to Hong Kong-based Skycom Tech, which allegedly tried to sell American computer equipment to an Iranian mobile phone company.
Such a move would violate U.S. sanctions on the sale of American goods to Iran, prosecutors said.
Meng told U.S. banks that the two companies are separate operations, but American investigators believe Skycom works as subsidiary of Huawei, according to Canadian prosecutors.
U.S. authorities are working to extradite Wanzhou to New York. She faces up to 30 years in prison if found guilty.
Meng's arrest has raised tensions between China and its North American economic rivals, the U.S. and Canada.
The case has also raised concerns that China could look to retaliate, with reports that Beijing detained a former Canadian diplomat who now works for an international nonprofit.
Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat who serves as a senior adviser to the International Crisis Group (ICG) was taken into custody in Beijing, U.S. and Canadian authorities said.
The ICG said Kovrig has been a full-time expert for the organization since February 2017. He has also worked as a Canadian diplomat in Beijing, Hong Kong and at the United Nations in New York, according to a profile on the organization's website.
It remains unclear where Kovrig is being held or why he was detained.
Hu Xijin, editor of state-controlled media outlet Global Times, posted a statement on Weibo, a Chinese social media service, that appeared to deny that Kobrig's detainment was related to Meng's arrest.
On Sunday, Le Yucheng, China's vice foreign minister, met with U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad to protest Wanzhou's arrest. Le also warned Canada of "grave consequences" if she is not released, saying her arrest was "unreasonable, unconscionable" and violated her rights.
Guy Saint-Jacques, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said Kovrig’s detention is surely tied to the Meng case.
"In China there is no coincidence," said Saint-Jacques. "Unfortunately Canada is caught in the middle of this dispute between the U.S and China. Because China cannot kick the U.S. they turn to the next target."